Somerset 197-7 beat Hampshire 181-9 by 16 runs

LIAM Dawson admitted that Hampshire need to win their last six group games to have a chance of qualifying for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals after hitting a career-best 82 in vain.

Chris Wood also produced a career-best performance, taking 5-32 from his four overs, but Somerset still managed to set Hampshire 198 at Taunton.

Hampshire now need to beat Kent at The Ageas Bowl tomorrow night to keep their faint last-eight hopes alive.

Dawson, who faced only 41 balls, said: “We probably have to win all our remaining group matches to stand a chance of reaching the quarter-finals of a competition we really fancied ourselves to do well in.”

With 229 runs at 38 and a strike rate of 143, Dawson is Hampshire’s leading run scorer in the Vitality Blast. 

He and James Vince shared 82 from 8.3 overs after Tom Alsop was out to the last ball of the powerplay.

 “I’m pleased that both myself and Chris Wood, who is a good friend of mine, came out of the game with career-bests,” said Dawson, who hit nine fours and four sixes. “He bowled really well. It’s never easy batting with James Vince because he makes everything look so easy. I was pleased with the way I struck the ball and helped us take the game into the final over.

“But it doesn’t make up for another defeat. We’re hurting in that dressing room because we know we are underperforming considering the players we have in the team.”

West Indies paceman Jerome Taylor claimed five wickets as Somerset denied Hampshire what would have been their first T20 win at Taunton in six attempts.

The home side posted 197-7 after losing the toss, recovering from 17-3 thanks to James Hildreth (57), Corey Anderson (32) and late cameos from Lewis Gregory, who smashed 24 off nine balls and Roelof van der Merwe, whose unbeaten 31 came off just 13 deliveries.

Left-arm seamer Wood took three wickets with his first eight balls at the start of the innings and at one point had figures of four for nine from 2.1 overs. He finished with his maiden T20 five-fer.

In reply, Hampshire were given hope by Vince and Dawson, but eventually fell short as Taylor claimed five for 15 from four overs and Jamie Overton 3-37.

Wood scuppered Somerset’s hopes of a good start by sending back Steve Davies for a first-ball duck and Peter Trego in the first over of the match. His second saw Johann Myburgh caught at deep square.

Somerset looked in disarray, but not for the first time this season profited from a long batting line-up. Hildreth and Tom Abell (27) launched the recovery with a stand of 60 in 6.4 overs.

Abell hit Dawson for the first six of the game over mid-wicket in the ninth over, but perished next ball trying to repeat the shot.

Anderson lofted Dawson for two maximums in the 11th over, but Mujeed Ur Rahman proved more difficult to score off as his four overs went for 30.

At the end of the 16th over, which saw Anderson hole out to deep mid-wicket off Ryan Stevenson, Somerset were 139 for five. 

But after Hildreth was caught at fly slip, having reached a 40-ball half-century, Gregory and van der Merwe launched a savage late assault.

Fidel Edwards went for 24 off the 18th over, with van der Merwe hitting three fours and Gregory a four and a six to ensure a respectable total.

Jamie Overton then grabbed two early Hampshire wickets, dismissing Colin Munro, who edged to wicketkeeper Davies and Sam Northeast, well caught by Hildreth running towards the mid-wicket boundary and narrowly avoiding onrushing team-mate Abell.

Overton also had Vince dropped on 18 by Gregory at mid-on. And when Jerome Taylor stuck with successive balls in the sixth over, sending back Rilee Rossouw and Tom Alsop, Hampshire were 37-4.

Vince timed the ball sweetly, hitting seven fours and three sixes, en route to a 32-ball half-century and Dawson suffered little in comparison, getting to fifty off two fewer deliveries.

But Vince holed out to long-on off Taylor and when Dawson was run out by Max Waller off the first ball of the final over, with 22 still needed, Somerset could relax.

Dawson’s innings was exhilarating. But in the end he was eclipsed as man-of-the-match Taylor, who looks a shrewd overseas signing by Somerset.

Taylor said: “To be honest I was bowling more to restrict the batsmen than to take wickets. We assessed the pitch having seen Hampshire bowl and decided that varying pace was a better idea than skidding it through.

“That’s what I tried to do and it paid off. At the halfway stage we thought 197 was a defendable total. It was good to put in that sort of team performance in front of our home crowd.

“I am enjoying my cricket with Somerset, we have the players to do well in the competition.”