Perfect display appeases Somerset supporters
Somerset 78 for 0 (Kieswetter 39*) beat Warwickshire 73 (Arafat 4-5) by 10 wickets
Somerset's supporters have had good reason to grumble on occasions this season. But all that another bumper crowd at Taunton needed to do today was lap up wall-to-wall sunshine and roar their approval at a near perfect performance.
Championship cricket continues to be a real struggle for this team but when it comes to limited-overs stuff, they are now well and truly punching their weight - even without Marcus Trescothick, currently sidelined by an ankle injury.
Warwickshire were on a little bit of a roll themselves before this afternoon with three consecutive Friends Life t20 victories to add to a sudden revival of four-day fortunes. But here, the Bears were completely and utterly flattened - knocked onto the ropes by a bowling and fielding performance almost without blemish and then floored with a ruthless batting display that saw victory achieved inside nine overs.
There cannot have been many more one-sided games in the relatively short history of T20s - and none more embarrassing for Warwickshire, who had never before been dismissed for fewer than three figures.
The visitors had won three games while batting second to ease themselves level on points with third-placed Somerset in this tight group. But here they chose to set a target and then saw only two players - Darren Maddy and Rikki Clarke - reach double figures on a pitch offering a bit of zip but nothing untoward.
There was not a weak link for Somerset but three players best summed up their terrific performance: widely travelled paceman Yasir Arafat, wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter and would-be stumper Jos Buttler.
Arafat, the 31-year-old Pakistani who has appeared for Kent, Lancashire, Surrey, Sussex and now Somerset in this country, was a relatively late and fairly low-key T20 signing by the Taunton hierarchy. But he has been on song since the start of this competition and scarcely wasted a delivery here while returning the remarkable figures of 4 for 5 from three overs.
Like all the bowlers, Arafat was backed up by some terrific catching. The best of the lot was plucked out of the air, just inches off the ground, by a diving Nick Compton at backward point. The ball, carved away by Chris Woakes off Alfonso Thomas, appeared to be past the fielder but it somehow lodged in his left hand.
Not far behind that take was the skier held by Buttler at deep backward square leg - pouched on the run, diving forward, when Varun Chopra must have thought he had got away with a slightly top-edged pull against Arafat.
In Buttler's ideal world, he would be behind the stumps in this form of cricket, gaining experience to enhance his England ambitions. That is not the way it is working out at Taunton, leaving Buttler to decide whether to seek pastures new at the end of this season. But he is a more than handy outfielder, a fact beyond dispute.
And as for Kieswetter, currently out of England favour, everything went right on both sides of the stumps. He held three catches, two of them routine takes and the other a splendidly well-judged effort on the run, and then dashed off an unbeaten 39 to put Warwickshire out of their misery.
There is still a long way to go in this group - both these teams have three more games to play. But on the evidence of this performance, only one of them looks to be on course for the quarter-finals.