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South Group (D/N), Taunton, July 02, 2023, Vitality Blast
(20 ov, T:222) 206/7

Somerset won by 15 runs

Player Of The Match
37* (19) & 2/33
Cricinfo's MVP
101.76 ptsImpact List

Kent miss last-eight spot with narrow defeat to frontrunners Somerset

Will Smeed, Lewis Gregory the standouts for home side in 15-run win

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Will Smeed helped fire Somerset to a match-winning total  •  Getty Images

Will Smeed helped fire Somerset to a match-winning total  •  Getty Images

Somerset 221 for 7 (Smeed 61, Stewart 4-48) beat Kent 206 for 6 (Evison 46, Gregory 2-33) by 15 runs
Kent Spitfires' hopes of grabbing the last quarter-final place in the Vitality Blast were dashed by the Somerset juggernaut as the runaway South Group winners pulled off a 15-run win at Taunton.
Will Smeed led a typical assault by the home side after losing the toss, smashing 61 off 28 balls, while Sean Dickson (41), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (31) and Lewis Gregory (37) made significant contributions to a score of 221 for 7. Grant Stewart claimed 4 for 48, but left-arm spinner George Linde was the pick of the Kent bowlers with 2 for 25.
In reply, the Spitfires, looking to overtake Essex in the table, posted 206 for 7, Joey Evison cracking 46 off 24 balls, Jack Leaning 41 and skipper Sam Billings 36. It was Somerset's 12th victory in 14 group matches, a record for the competition.
Despite claiming the early wicket of Tom Banton, caught and bowled off a waist-high Stewart full toss, the visitors were unable to prevent Somerset scoring 63 off the initial six-over powerplay. Smeed was soon taking advantage of a true batting pitch with a short boundary on the town side of the ground. He and Kohler-Cadmore responded to the loss of Banton with a string of sweetly-struck boundaries.
Both cleared the ropes in the power play and had taken the score to 72 in the eighth over when Kohler-Cadmore was caught at long-on off Stewart, having faced just 18 balls.
Smeed went past 2000 T20 runs with his fourth six, launched over cover off Stewart, before going to a 23-ball fifty that delighted a packed crowd at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Another exhilarating mixture of muscular blows and deft touches ended when 21-year-old Smeed swept a ball from Linde and was caught at deep backward square, with the total 103 in the tenth over.
Tom Abell also fell to a sweep shot off Linde, Jordan Cox taking a brilliant diving catch. But Dickson ensured there was no slowing of the scoring rate, hitting three sixes and two fours in a stand of 47 in less than five overs with Gregory. The former Kent player was eventually caught behind off what would have been a wide from Stewart, but Gregory's 19-ball innings guaranteed Somerset a challenging total.
Kent's hopes of chasing it down suffered an early blow when opener Tawanda Muyeye, already dropped by Dickson at deep midwicket, hit a six off Matt Henry's first ball of the second over before lifting a catch to mid-on off the next delivery.
Alex Blake threatened briefly, smashing a big six off Henry in racing to 24 off just 10 balls before being run out backing up as the New Zealand seamer fingertipped a drive from Billings onto the stumps.
Billings began watchfully, but cleared the ropes for the first time off Ben Green in the seventh over, fetching a ball from outside off stump and dispatching it over deep square. The Spitfires had ended the powerplay on 63 for 3, still in the game.
Billings greeted the introduction of legspinner Ish Sodhi with a six over long-on and was warming to his task with successive boundaries off Gregory before Somerset's captain struck back by bowling him with the last ball of the ninth over. Leaning responded with a six over deep square off Overton and followed up with a four to third-man as 17 came off the 11th over.
Experienced New Zealander Sodhi had Linde caught at long-off and Kent required 103 from the last eight. Some defiant blows from Leaning and Evison reduced the target to 69 from five.
Evison then hit Green for six as 16 came off the 16th over. Leaning followed up by clearing the ropes off Davey, but when he fell to Gregory two overs later, having faced 30 balls, Somerset regained control and Evison's impressive effort ended when he was caught off Henry to kill off Kent hopes.

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