Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Tom Banton slams stunning 71 as Somerset gun down 204 target

Tom Banton squirts one away through point Getty Images

Somerset 207 for 2 (Banton 71, Byrom 54*) beat Surrey 203 for 4 (Finch 72, S Curran 53) by eight wickets

Tom Banton confirmed his reputation as one of the most exciting young batting talents in the country with a breathtaking 71 from just 37 balls as Somerset won a high-scoring Vitality Blast game against Surrey at Taunton by eight wickets.

Set 204 to win, the hosts got home with eight balls to spare, Banton smashing 11 fours and two sixes to thrill home supporters in a packed crowd at the County Ground. Babar Azam contributed 43, while Eddie Byrom marked his Somerset T20 debut with four sixes in an whirlwind 54 not out off only 19 deliveries.

Aaron Finch had led the way for Surrey, hitting 72 off 44 balls after they had lost the toss. The Aussie hit six fours and four sixes, receiving good support from Sam Curran (53) and Ollie Pope (37).

But even Finch was eclipsed by the spectacular efforts of Banton and the inspired Byrom, surely two Somerset stars of the future.

"Today we had to go from ball one, chasing over 200, and thankfully it was a bit easier," said Banton. "I always try to go hard from the start.

"Babar and I have our different ways of playing. He is textbook and I try to hack everything into the leg side. We knew we had the players to reach our target and just had to back ourselves."

Surrey lost opener Will Jacks to the last ball of the second over, well caught above his head by Max Waller at mid-off for nine off the bowling of Jerome Taylor.

By the end of the six-over powerplay, Finch and Sam Curran had taken the total to 47 for 1, and Curran hit the first six of the innings off Roelof van der Merwe in the eighth over.

At the halfway point, Surrey had moved to 86 for 1. Finch brought the 100 up with a six over cow corner off Tom Lammonby's only over, which went for 15.

Curran was first to his fifty in the 12th over, having faced 31 balls and hit six fours and two sixes. Two overs later he was caught at long-on off Waller and for a short spell Somerset exerted some control.

But after reaching his half-century in the 15th over, Finch cut loose, hitting a pair of sixes off Waller before falling to the legspinner, caught at long-off by van der Merwe.

Pope then took over, reverse-sweeping a remarkable six off Taylor as the 17th over went for 20. When Tom Curran launched a maximum off the final ball of the innings, sent down by van der Merwe, Surrey had scored 85 off the last six overs.

Banton began by taking two fours off the second over from Tom Curran and then reverse-sweeping Sam Curran for a stunning six. By the end of the powerplay that total had moved on to 66, as Banton reached a brilliant fifty off just 22 balls.

Babar was largely content to run singles: the Pakistan star had contributed just 14 when the partnership reached 82 at the end of the seventh over.

Banton was given a life on 67 when Clarke failed to hold a difficult diving catch on the boundary off Imran Tahir, but it didn't prove expensive as the next over from Gareth Batty saw the young opener's superb exhibition ended by a catch at deep backward square leg.

Babar moved quickly to 43 before being bowled trying to sweep Tahir, leaving Somerset 127 for 2 in the 13th over.

But it was Byrom, coming in at four, who ensured the Surrey bowlers could never gain any sort of grip. Two sixes off Batty and another off Tahir were just the start of a memorable innings by the 22-year-old, as he led Somerset to a vital win.

Somerset 2nd innings Partnerships

1st93Babar AzamT Banton
2nd34JC HildrethBabar Azam
3rd80JC HildrethEJ Byrom