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Hildreth stars as Somerset sneak it with ball to spare

Somerset 166 for 5 (Hildreth 63) beat Middlesex 162 for 6 (Morgan 59) by five wickets

James Hildreth upstaged England captain Eoin Morgan as Somerset beat Middlesex for the second time in a week to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the NatWest T20 Blast.

Morgan smashed 59 from 28 balls as Middlesex registered a competitive 162 for six having been put in on a drying Taunton pitch in a game reduced to 16 overs-a-side by rain.

However, Hildreth responded with an enterprising 63 from 34 balls to set-up a thrilling finale. And Somerset, requiring 13 to win off the final over, reached their target with one ball to spare thanks to an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 36 between Corey Anderson and Roelof van der Merwe which delivered a five-wicket win.

Victory means Somerset, who have six points from six games, move above Middlesex in the South Group table.

Unhappy at having to play on what he considered a dangerously wet outfield, Middlesex captain Brendan McCullum was further piqued when, having scratched seven from 12 balls, he mistimed a drive off the bowling of Tim Groenewald and was brilliantly held one-handed by an airborne Peter Trego at mid-off.

It was left to Nick Gubbins to give the innings early impetus, the opener helping himself to a six and a brace of fours en-route to 21 from 14 deliveries.

However, he was undone by poor communication just as he was looking to cut loose. Sent back by John Simpson, who refused a single, Gubbins was run out by Max Waller's throw from square leg as the visitors subsided to 32 for two in the sixth over.

Joined by England T20 skipper Morgan and eager to make amends, Simpson tucked into Waller's leg breaks to rescue Middlesex from a sticky start and help them post 62 at the halfway stage.

Thereafter, the big-hitting Morgan took centre-stage, plundering 17 runs off one Lewis Gregory over and then meting out similar treatment to Waller.

Somerset earned a temporary respite when Simpson, having played second fiddle in a third-wicket stand of 66, pulled Groenewald to Waller at deep mid-wicket and departed for 26.

However, Morgan went to a 20-ball half century with another towering six over midwicket at the expense of Waller, who partially redeemed himself when inducing James Franklin to hole out to Van Der Merwe for seven later in the same over.

Morgan also took Gregory to task, lifting him imperiously over square leg to collect his seventh six. But Gregory's relief knew no bounds when the Irishman, attempting another maximum, drove straight to Craig Overton at long-on.

Ryan Higgins ensured there was no let-up in the Middlesex onslaught, crashing 20 from five balls, while George Scott finished unbeaten on 17.

Required to score at 10 an over, Somerset benefited from their decision to deploy Gregory as a pinch-hitting opener as he harvested five boundaries in a 12-ball innings that yielded 25 before Tom Helm held a return catch.

Jim Allenby was clean bowled by Steven Finn for 11 and Peter Trego edged a length ball from Tim Southee behind for six to leave Somerset, at 47 for 3, heavily dependent upon the in-form pair of Adam Hose and Hildreth.

A seasoned campaigner, Hildreth kept the scoreboard ticking over before clubbing a four and two sixes off the 10th over, sent down by slow left armer Nathan Sowter.

Hildreth's sixth four brought up a 27-ball 50 In the 11th over, by the end of which the home side needed a further 54 runs from 30 deliveries to win.

Having played a supporting role in a stand of 71 for the fourth wicket, Hose perished in the act of hitting out, caught by Higgins in the deep for 14.

Somerset still required 33 runs from 21 balls when Hildreth's fine innings came to an end, Simpson taking a catch behind off the bowling of Helm to calm Middlesex nerves.

But Anderson and Van Der Merwe refused to panic and made an unbeaten 19 and 14 respectively to see the home side across the finish line.