Somerset gain promotion in thriller
Somerset 258 for 9 (Trescothick 124, Blackwell 41, Dernbach 5 for 44) beat Surrey (Ramprakash 115, Butcher 56) by five runs
Lord's played host to its first floodlit match on Monday, but now it was The Oval's turn to put on their Pro40 show. In a dazzlingly close affair, Somerset's cool heads earned them a last-gasp five-run victory - and a well-deserved promotion to Division One.
While Middlesex's match was deliberately muted - with respect to the St John's Wood residents - the 8000 spectators watching Surrey, and Mark Ramprakash in particular, push Somerset all the way made enough noise for a full house. In the end, though, it was to be Somerset's day/night thanks to Marcus Trescothick's century and a well-judged last over from Steffan Jones.
Surrey needed 11 from the final two balls with two wickets remaining but Ramprakash and Neil Saker both fell, leaving Somerset triumphant. The visitors' 258 had looked short when Ramprakash, who made 115, and Mark Butcher (56) were leading the charge - indeed, Somerset were on target for 300 until Trescothick went on 124 (his first century in the competition this year) - but in the end it proved just enough.
Trescothick entertained with a typically forthright century, but was allowed a chance on 53, when he was dropped at mid-on off Saker. This wasn't the only one of Surrey's fumbles - Neil McKenzie was spilled on 19 - although Murtaza Hussain finally held on to Trescothick at the third juggle but only when it was too late.
Jade Dernbach led a youthful Surrey attack with his usual broad smile which, when he bagged five wickets, turned full beam - no lights were needed at that point. His 5 for 44 was his best one-day bowling and was just reward for finding some extra lift to remove Craig Kieswetter for a duck and Justin Langer for 2, caught at gully by James Benning (9 for 2).
Somerset, though, were lifted by two key partnerships, both involving the dominant Trescothick, who added 86 with Neil McKenzie (32) and 83 with the clean-hitting Ian Blackwell, who made 41. McKenzie finally fell to Chris Jordan, a simple chance at backward point, while Blackwell was then deceived by the vicious turn away from Murtaza - he could only prod an edge.
The turning point in Surrey's innings came when Butcher and Ali Brown were run-out in quick succession with 65 still required. Jon Batty and Rory Hamilton-Brown were further victims as the heat of battle burned deeper - both fell to Charl Willoughby - and Jordan soon followed to Jones, but still Ramprakash did not melt. Far from it, he remained cool and calm as he collected some typically stylish runs.
Eventually, however, he perished to another run-out in the dying over and with it Surrey's hopes fell away.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo