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August 14, 2010
Somerset 182 for 5 (Trescothick 60, Buttler 55*, Swann 2-24) beat Nottinghamshire 117 for 4 (Patel 39, Thomas 2-23) (13 overs) by 3 runs (D/L method)
One moment of fielding brilliance from Kieron Pollard turned Somerset from losers to winners and put them into the Friends Provident t20 final by three runs. Until Pollard leapt at long-on to remove Samit Patel, Nottinghamshire were ahead of the D/L target but that wicket changed the calculations and by the time the rain arrived five balls later David Hussey and Chris Read hadn't managed to get their side back in front.
It was a cruel way to end a compelling contest, especially as Hussey and Patel had done so well to give Nottinghamshire a chance after three quick wickets fell in pursuit of a tough adjusted target of 152 in 16 overs. They had raced out of the blocks as they knew they must chasing 10-an-over and were always likely to shed wickets, two of which went to the tournament's leading wicket-taker Alfonso Thomas.
However, from the seventh to the 12th overs Hussey and Patel added 62 as both sides frantically kept themselves informed of the moving target. The situation was changing ball-by-ball with a large cloud threatening to dump on the ground any moment. At the start of the 13th over they were one run ahead, but then Patel picked out the towering figure of Pollard although it was a worthwhile gamble because the end-of-over target was the same - 120 - with either three or four wickets down.
However, Somerset were good value for their berth in the final after a powerful batting display led by two men at either ends of their careers. Marcus Trescothick led the early charge with a 22-ball half-century, but 19-year-old Jos Buttler went one better with a stunning 21-ball effort to lift his team to a commanding 182 for 5.
Buttler is a wicketkeeper-batsman by trade but Somerset rate him highly enough as a specialist batsman and here he showed why with a wonderful display of striking and deftness after Nottinghamshire fought back through some fine spin bowling by Patel and Graeme Swann.
A mark of the quality Buttler produced was that he overshadowed Pollard who had to wait until his 15th ball to strike a boundary, which also brought up the fifty stand, by which time Buttler had 37 off 16 deliveries. Buttler had opened his boundary count with a monstrous blow over deep midwicket off Ryan Sidebottom, but the highlight of his innings was the way he toyed with Stuart Broad's final over.
He twice guided boundaries to third man, including a six, then went the other side and paddled Broad's final ball through short fine-leg. Buttler reached a breathtaking fifty in the final over with three boundaries in four balls off Sidebottom as 72 runs came off the last six overs.
This was a contest that wouldn't have been out of place in the IPL with a host of international talent on display as Nottinghamshire's international-class bowling line-up went head-to-head with Somerset's destructive batting. The batting was the winner as Nottinghamshire's three much-vaunted quicks went for 119 in 11 overs; the spinners conceded 44 in eight.
Trescothick was hit on the helmet by a rapid Dirk Nannes bouncer first ball, but rather than stun him it only spurred him on. Trescothick responded with consecutive boundaries off Broad and then used Nannes's extra pace to upper cut him over third man for six.
By now he was in full flow, but it was harder work for Craig Kieswetter who continues to battle for form following his diffcult one-day summer with England. However, he matched Trescothick by driving Sidebottom over cover before top edging an ambitious pull at Broad.
Trescothick just kept only flying as he raced to fifty from 22 balls with a one-handed six off Steven Mullaney, whose first over was dispatched for 16. However, after one more slog-sweep against Swann, Trescothick was beaten by some subtle flight and overbalanced out of his crease.
His dismissal changed the momentum as Zander de Bruyn was run out from cover as he attempted a non-existent single and watched as his partner didn't respond, then Swann picked a deserved second scalp when he beat James Hildreth in the flight and accepted a return catch.
Nottinghamshire were suddenly buoyant, but Somerset had plenty more power to come as Buttler demonstrated in thrilling style yet in without Pollard's leaping intervention it could have all come to nothing.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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