Marshall and Howell lead Gloucs rout
Gloucestershire 141 for 1 (Marshall 66, Howell 55*) beat Somerset 140 for 8 (Muralitharan 2-20) by nine wickets
Hamish Marshall led from the front with 66 as Gloucestershire romped to a shock nine-wicket win over Somerset with 5.2 overs to spare in the Friends Life t20 clash at Taunton.
A packed crowd of more than 7,000 saw the hosts fall to their first T20 defeat this season, having been restricted to 140 for 8 after winning the toss, Albie Morkel top-scoring with 33. Spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (2 for 20) and Ed Young (1 for 18) bowled their eight overs for a combined total of 38 runs, while Ian Saxelby and James Fuller claimed two wickets each.
Marshall and Benny Howell (55 not out) then made the total look even more inadequate, with an opening stand of 115 in 12.1 overs. Marshall raced to a half-century off 35 balls - with seven fours - before pulling a catch to midwicket, having added two sixes. By then the game won.
Howell looked equally at ease as the pair scored at will against an off-colour Somerset attack, reaching his 50 off 36 balls, with eight fours and a six.
Skipper Marshall had earlier set the tone for Somerset's unusually poor batting effort by taking a fine running catch to dismiss Richard Levi for seven off the first ball of the second over. Kevin O'Brien holed out to deep square off James Fuller and it was 39 for 3 when Nick Compton was caught behind off an inside edge to give Saxelby a wicket.
Jos Buttler was dropped on 1 by wicketkeeper Jon Batty off Liam Norwell, but James Hildreth was caught behind sweeping at Muralitharan to make it 47 for 4. Buttler (23) could not find any fluency and lost his patience to be stumped by Batty advancing to Young after a stand of 33 with Morkel. Arul Suppiah was bowled by the wily Murali and at 83 for 6 Somerset were in deep trouble.
Morkel hit two big sixes before lofting a catch to long-off and only a poor 18th over from Fuller, in which he was warned for a beamer and conceded 18 runs, gave the home side even the faintest hope.