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Alex Winter at Bristol
May 16, 2014
Somerset 156 for 8 (Kieswetter 55, Petersen 51, Fuller 4-32) beat Gloucestershire 138 (Marshall 54, Nannes 4-21, Waller 3-22) by 18 runs
Gloucestershire peeled off the wrappers on their new stands as the T20 masses tested the screws on the new-look Nevil Road for the first time. They would have been impressed by their remodelled surroundings but departed knowing improvement on the field is a longer-term project. Certainty in T20. In chasing 157, Gloucestershire failed to match their very credible effort with the ball and missed a chance for only a third win against Somerset at Bristol in T20.
It was a weak performance with the bat where they failed to come to terms with a wicket that did not play as true as was preferable for clean strokemaking although Michael Klinger made no excuses. There was little blasting to herald the new competition. There were plenty of catches from mistimed strokes in both innings but Gloucestershire's were less forgivable having seen the first 20 overs.
The important wicket was Klinger. He defied Gloucestershire's miserable 2013 in the shortest format to make the fifth-highest tally of runs in the tournament but here, after stepping around on the crease, drove off balance at Lewis Gregory at got a whirlwind edge to third man. Without their captain marvel there were only two other meaningful scorers. And that was despite a shoddy Somerset fielding performance where three catches went down and a run-out was missed.
With 34 to win in three overs, Dirk Nannes, on his 38th birthday, returned to see out the match. A very wide delivery had James Fuller reaching as a far as was physically possible outside off stump and he toe-ended a catch behind.
Gloucestershire failed to find a steady way into the innings whereas Somerset, having lost two of their three gun top-order players early, moved carefully past halfway with a stand of 89 between Craig Kieswetter and Alviro Petersen. Gloucestershire put together a highest stand of just 26 - for the eighth wicket.
Kieswetter threatened a big innings. He came down the track to Liam Norwell and sent a length ball high back over the long-on seats - the shortest boundary on the ground - and went dead straight two balls later for his second four. He pulled Graeme McCarter's first delivery through midwicket and struck another boundary through point to complete the Powerplay at 48 for 2.
However, at the back-end of the innings, he was happy to take singles and never found a kick which would have put Somerset into safer territory. But the second innings put his effort into perspective.
Petersen tried to force the pace more than Kieswetter. He took Norwell over extra-cover and cleverly opened the face to steer Benny Howell from off stump to fine third man. He is not known for his power but heaved Tom Smith over the longest part of the ground at deep midwicket on the Bristol College side of the ground and brought up fifty in 34 balls with a six into the fourth story of the flats at the Ashley Down End. He was named Man of the Match.
The pair revitalised Somerset after two early wickets for Fuller removed two significant threats. Fuller is a lively seamer with an ability to move the new ball. He opened with a bumper to Marcus Trescothick who hooked, was too late on the stroke, and top-edged a catch down the throat of long leg. Fuller struck with the first ball of his next over too, with a back-of-a-length delivery that nipped back on Peter Trego who walked for an inside edge behind.
He returned in the 17th over and forced James Hildreth into a misjudgement, driving a ball high into the air and straight to deep cover. Nick Compton went the same way as his captain, hurried by a hook and spooned a catch to midwicket for a duck.
Yet after pleasing work in keeping one of the most dangerous line-ups in the competition relatively quiet, Gloucestershire provided a very poor reply.
Hamish Marshall was the only player to recognise the wicket demanded some care. He only really attacked when the ball was at extremes of length. Some loose stuff from Max Waller helped his tally; consecutive long hops went for four through square leg and a half-volley was driven down the ground. But it was Waller's straight delivery which Marshall swept across, was bowled, and Gloucestershire's last hope walked off.
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