Smith helps Somerset lift trophy
Somerset 118 for 3 (Smith 64*) defeated Lancashire 114 for 8 (Law 59) by
Somerset have already caused one or two upsets this summer - just ask Australia - and today was no different when they defeated the favourites Lancashire to lift the Twenty20 trophy for the first time. And, again, it was the imperious Graeme Smith who led from the front to mastermind victory in a rain-reduced, relatively low-scoring chase under the lights.
Smith was in control from the outset, mixing up his bowlers, setting fields with aplomb and then striking 64 not out to take them home after Lancashire made just 114 for 8 from their 16 overs. James Hildreth, who hit the winning runs, joined Smith in a matchwinning fourth-wicket stand of 53 from 36 deliveries.
Earlier, the pace bowlers Richard Johnson and Andrew Caddick had taken five wickets between them to put Somerset in a dominant position. Stuart Law topscored for Lancashire with a battling, brave 59 after some injudicious batting had left his side reeling at 40 for 5, with Mal Loye and a brace of Andrews - Symonds and Flintoff - all back in the pavilion. Another Andrew, Crook, added 15 but there was little else to cheer about for Lancashire's batsmen.
Somerset made steady progress in their reply, until Flintoff struck two vital blows, removing Marcus Trescothick and Matthew Wood. But by this time, Somerset had more than half of the runs they needed, and they knew that from there on in it would be a case of hanging around, playing a patient game. Ian Blackwell showed no such patience, holing out for 3, but no matter, for this was the last wicket to fall, and Smith seized control of the match from there.
Showing shades of the former Somerset bighitters Viv Richards and Ian Botham, Smith casually swatted boundaries like flies. Lancashire's captain Mark Chilton threw Symonds and Flintoff at the latest incarnation of Somerset brawn, but neither of these experienced campaigners could make a dent in Smith's well-fashioned armour. Smith stood firm and did the job, but admitted later such efforts had taken their toll. "I'm going to go and put my feet up for a bit," he said. He deserves it.
Lancashire's total, though, had never seemed enough after their middle order was dismantled by Johnson. He followed up from where he had left off in the semi-final, with nagging, wicket-taking form. He took two wickets in successive balls to continue the slide started by Andrew Caddick, who had decided that he, too, was coming to this Twenty20 party. Johnson brought his own bottle - having dropped a sitter from Loye in the first over off Caddick, he stayed calm to hang on to an identical chance three balls later. That was the first of Caddick's two big wickets, and his second was even bigger: Flintoff, for 2, caught by Blackwell (15 for 2).
Symonds was next to fall, run out for 12. Just one run later, Dominic Cork (a skier to Marcus Trescothick) and Glen Chapple (golden duck, bowled) joined him, both cleaned up by Johnson. Chilton followed soon afterwards. At 69 for 6, a dire Lancashire were in the mire and, although Crook followed the long handle of the Law - they shared a stand of 32 - it was too little, too late.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo