Yardy and Goodwin lead Sussex to semis
Sussex 288 for 4 (Goodwin 93, Joyce 74, Yardy 57*) beat Somerset 285 for 8 (Kieswetter 106, de Bruyn 96, Arafat 3-52) by six wickets
Murray Goodwin lived up to his reputation as one of the best limited-overs batsmen in the country and Michael Yardy played a captain's innings to steer Sussex into the Friends Provident semi-finals. Somerset recovered well from a troubled start with Craig Kieswetter hitting a superb century, but a target of 286 is not so daunting at Taunton and Sussex paced their chase to perfection.
Whenever the required rate climbed to touch eight an over Sussex found the acceleration needed, while Somerset struggled with a lack of wicket-taking bowlers. The key partnership was between Goodwin and Yardy, who added 89 the fourth wicket with some textbook one-day batting. Neither batsman panicked and they picked off crucial boundaries to ease the pressure. The Somerset bowlers slipped at vital moments and victory came with five balls to spare.
The chase got off to a poor start when Joe Gatting edged behind for a duck in the opening over, but early nerves were settled by Ed Joyce and Chris Nash who added 74 to set a platform. Nash gave away his innings with a slog across the line against Alfonso Thomas, but Joyce continued to accumulate steadily with Goodwin for company.
Somerset managed to create some pressure during the middle overs as Omari Banks proved difficult to score off and Charl Willoughby produced a tight spell. Joyce got a leading edge back to Banks, but Yardy was so eager for the challenge that he was in the middle before Joyce had made it off the pitch.
The Sussex captain middled everything from the start and was quickly scoring at more than run-a-ball to take the pressure off Goodwin. The pick of Yardy's shots were when he went inside out over extra cover. Goodwin appeared to be guiding the chase home with a century in sight but played across the line at Peter Trego to give Somerset a sniff.
But those hopes evaporated when Rory Hamilton-Brown was dropped by Zander de Bruyn, running in from deep cover, and Yardy went to his deserved half-century off 40 balls with a thumping drive. Hamilton-Brown crunched a boundary off the last ball of the 49th over to leave Sussex needing just two from the final over, which Yardy sealed with a single blow.
Sussex began the day in fine style when Marcus Trescothick drove a catch to mid-off first ball and the home side limped to 39 for 3 as James Hildreth was trapped lbw by Robin Martin-Jenkins and Ben Phillips was yorked by Yasir Arafat. However, a excellent recovery was staged by Kieswetter and de Bruyn who added 167 for the fourth wicket.
Kieswetter, who qualifies for England next February, was dropped on 0 by James Kirtley at first slip and continued his strong season with another display from powerful striking once he had weathered the early problems. He was particularly strong through the off side whenever given a hint of width and his hundred came up off 107 balls.
However, when he top edged a pull shortly afterwards Somerset lost their momentum. de Bruyn fell four runs short of his century when he chipped a catch back to Arafat and Sussex's four spinners did a fine job on a ground that is very difficult to defend - something Somerset later found to their cost.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo