Gayle force continues to deliver Somerset win
Somerset 173 for 2 (Gayle 85*, Trego 51) beat Hampshire 167 for 3 (Vince 64*) by eight wickets
Chris Gayle took his run tally in three NatWest T20 Blast innings for Somerset to 328 as his side beat Hampshire by eight wickets in front of a sell-out 6,500 Taunton crowd. The hosts reached a modest target of 168 with nine balls to spare, Gayle blasting an unbeaten 85 off 49 balls, with eight sixes and four fours, and Peter Trego 51.
James Vince cracked an unbeaten 64 off 53 balls to help Hampshire to 167 for 3 after winning the toss, Sean Ervine contributing 30 at the death. But it never looked likely to be enough in excellent batting conditions.
The Hampshire innings featured only two sixes on one of the smaller grounds on the county circuit. Both were hit over deep square, by Owais Shah in the 14th over and Sean Ervine in the 19th. By the end of the six overs of Powerplay the visitors were 51 for 1, having just lost Michael Carberry for 20 to a well-judged catch by James Hildreth on the square-leg boundary off Sohail Tanvir.
Vince, who survived a stumping chance on 34, was never able to totally cut loose, but reached his half-century off 44 balls, with 6 fours, while Ervine provided some necessary late acceleration with a 17-ball cameo.
Jim Allenby was the pick of the Somerset bowlers, surprisingly bowling only three overs for 11 runs and the wicket of Shah, caught at midwicket for 16 with the total on 113. By then Hampshire had also lost Jimmy Adams for 23, including four fours, a victim for Lewis Gregory, and Somerset could feel well satisfied with their bowling efforts in bright sunshine.
The home side's reply got off to a poor start when Marcus Trescothick, having faced five dot balls in the second over from Fidel Edwards, top-edged the sixth to third-man and departed for a single with the score on six.
After four overs Somerset were becalmed on 17 for 1, thanks to a lively opening spell from Edwards. But Gayle got the scoreboard moving with two sixes and a four off Chris Wood. Even so, it was only 38 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay. Trego had been dropped on six by Shah at midwicket off Wood and was soon making Hampshire pay with sixes off Danny Briggs and Will Smith.
Trego, the powerful allrounder outscored Gayle to move to his half-century off 32 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, before top-edging a catch to wicketkeeper Adam Wheater off Briggs. That over had also seen Gayle dropped on 36. The West Indies star was given another life by Smith off his own bowling in the next over and promptly hit the next delivery for his fifth six.
The sixth, a soaring straight hit, saw Gayle reach a 36-ball half-century after which the result was never in doubt. He ended the match with yet another maximum, punching the air in delight at another seemingly effortless display.
"I'll be having a few ciders with the lads to celebrate," Somerset match-winner Gayle said. "It was an important win for the team in the group because now we have two victories from four games and I'm delighted to scored some more runs. The crowd pumped me up at the end and I was able to finish the game with the six they were calling for. I love the atmosphere at Taunton and I'm looking forward to another home match against Surrey before I leave. I'm sorry my time here is so short because things could hardly have gone better. It was good team performance today. We bowled and fielded well."
Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: "The crowd came to see Gayle and were royally entertained by a fantastic innings. From our point of view, we felt we were 15 runs short because Somerset bowled particularly well and then we failed to take our chances in the field, dropping both Trego and Gayle at vital times."