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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Steven Davies sets platform as Somerset hold on in high-scoring encounter

Steven Davies goes over the top Getty Images

Somerset 229 for 8 (Davies 60, Mitchell 3-35) beat Worcestershire 213 for 7 (Libby 75*, Davey 4-41) by 16 runs

Somerset achieved their highest T20 score away from Taunton as they defeated bottom placed Worcestershire Rapids by 16 runs in a Central Group encounter at Edgbaston. Steven Davies continued his liking for batting on the ground as he top-scored with 60 in a total of 229-8 after being put into bat.

It was a total Somerset had only surpassed twice, in scoring 250 for 6 against Gloucestershire in 2006 and 235 for 5 versus Middlesex in 2011 - both on their home ground. But they were aided by some indisciplined bowling by the Rapids who conceded 14 wides and three no-balls and saw skipper Ed Barnard removed from the attack for bowling successive high full tosses.

The Rapids lost early wickets but Jake Libby - with a T20 best of 75 not out - and some late hitting by Daryl Mitchell, who had earlier become Worcestershire's leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket, lifted the final total to a respectable 213 for 7 with Josh Davey returning 4 for 41.

Somerset's second win has kept them in contention to qualify for the knockouts but the Rapids, winners in 2018 and runners-up last September, are without a win after four matches.

Davies has scored centuries on his last two appearances in the County Championship at Edgbaston - in August 2019 and last month - and his assault today provided the perfect platform.

Somerset welcomed back Babar Azam and Vitality Blast captain Lewis Gregory who had been on opposite sides in the Pakistan-England T20I Series at Emirates Old Trafford. Pakistan T20 captain Azam scored 578 runs in 13 knocks for Somerset in the Blast last summer with one century and four fifties at an average of 52.54. He replaced George Bartlett with the rested Craig Overton making way for Gregory.

Worcestershire handed a Blast debut to paceman Adam Finch who has impressed this season while on loan to Surrey in the Bob Willis Trophy with four-wicket hauls against Essex and Kent. He came into the side for Rapids spinner Brett D'Oliveira as part of a four-pronged pace attack on the same pitch where Gloucestershire plundered 157 for 3 off 12 overs against Warwickshire the previous evening.

Former Worcestershire wicketkeeper Davies clubbed Pat Brown for sixes over long-on in his first over. He picked up two further boundaries at the expense of the England T20 paceman to complete the Powerplay at 53 for 0. Barnard's first over cost 17 runs including a six over long-on by Azam.

Mitchell broke the stand with the total on 90 when Azam on 42 from 35 balls chopped a delivery onto his stumps. It meant that Mitchell became Worcestershire's all-time leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket with 93 victims, edging one ahead of Jack Shantry

Davies completed an excellent 27-ball half century with two sixes and seven fours but the Rapids enjoyed a second success when James Hildreth lofted Pennington into the hands of Riki Wessels at long-on. Davies' excellent knock ended on 60 when he picked put Ross Whiteley at deep square leg off Pennington.

Mitchell struck in successive balls in his final over as Tom Abell swung across the line and was bowled and Gregory offered a low return catch.

There was another breakthrough when Ben Green cut Brown straight to short third man but then Worcestershire's attack lost its way.

Brown conceded three wides in an over and Barnard was removed from the attack for bowling successive high full tosses - which were dispatched for four and six by Roelof van der Merwe - at the start of the 19th over. Finch had to complete the over which cost a total of 29 runs although he gained some consolation with Eddie Byrom taken at long-on before Josh Davey was run out in the final over.

Worcestershire had to score at more than 11 an over and they soon lost wickets in pursuit of their daunting target. Wessels skied Gregory to mid-on, Hamish Rutherford perished on the deep square boundary off Ollie Sale, who in his next over had Jack Haynes caught behind. Ben Cox then departed to a sharp return catch by Davey.

Sale held on to a fine low catch at backward square to dismiss Ross Whiteley to give Davey his second scalp.

Libby brought the Rapids 100 up with a six from a highish Gregory delivery in the 12th over before Barnard was lbw to a Davey full toss as he tried to work the ball to leg. Mitchell was also in good form with the bat and Green was hit for three sixes - all in the midwicket region - in the same over.

Libby completed his maiden T20 fifty for Worcestershire from 35 balls with one six and four fours. Mitchell became Davey's fourth victim to leave Libby undefeated with his 46-ball knock containing two sixes and seven fours.

Worcs 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st16MH WesselsHD Rutherford
2nd8HD RutherfordJA Haynes
3rd26JD LibbyJA Haynes
4th12OB CoxJD Libby
5th32RA WhiteleyJD Libby
6th23JD LibbyEG Barnard
7th71DKH MitchellJD Libby
8th25JD LibbyDY Pennington