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Ben Cox gets Worcestershire off the mark in three-run win over Somerset

Ben Cox shapes to paddle during his half-century Getty Images

Worcestershire 168 for 4 (Cox 56*) beat Somerset 165 for 8 (Abell 60, Brown 3-39) by 3 runs

Worcestershire Rapids earned their first success of the Vitality Blast with a three-run Central Group victory over Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.

The visitors posted 168 for 4 after winning the toss, Ben Cox top-scoring with 56 not out, Jake Libby making 48 and Hamish Rutherford 46 off just 29 balls. Max Waller was the pick of the Somerset attack with 1 for 21 from his four overs.

In reply, the hosts could manage only 165 for 8, Tom Abell making 60 and Pat Brown claiming 3 for 39. It left much-fancied Somerset with only two wins from six games and in danger of missing out on a quarter-final place.

Despite the loss of Riki Wessels in the first over, bowled by Waller on the back foot, Worcestershire made a good fist of the initial six-over power-play, reaching 55 for 1.

Rutherford led the way with sixes off Ollie Sale, Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton, while Libby notched four fours to help keep the scoreboard ticking.

Left-hander Rutherford looked in particularly dangerous form, adding another maximum off Roelof van der Merwe before attempting a further big shot off Gregory, who accepted a skied caught and bowled chance.

The New Zealander was out to the last ball of the tenth over, with the total on 83 and his stand with Libby having added 80 in nine overs.

Somerset then did well to put a clamp on the scoring rate on what looked a plum batting wicket, Gregory, who had Libby caught at deep mid-wicket, Waller and van der Merwe combining effectively.

But Cox made good use of the ramp shot to accelerate and striking successive sixes over mid-wicket off Sale at the start of the 18th over.

Ross Whiteley also claimed a maximum off Sale's first ball of the final over before holing out to deep mid-wicket and Cox was still there at the end, having faced 34 balls and hit 5 fours and 3 sixes.

Somerset's reply got off to a calamitous start when Babar Azam fell lbw to the first ball of the innings, bowled by Charlie Morris.

That brought in 18-year-old Will Smeed for what proved a short debut knock. The Academy product was dropped first ball by Morris, diving to his right for a return catch and then got off the mark with a boundary thanks to a misfield before skying a catch to wicketkeeper Cox off seamer Adam Finch in the second over.

It was 30 for 3 when Steve Davies was leg-before to Brown and at the end of six overs Somerset were 43 for three.

Gregory and Abell added 43 for the fourth wicket before Gregory, on 24, was bowled giving Daryl Mitchell the charge. At the halfway point in their innings, Somerset were 74 for 4.

Eddie Byrom fell to a reverse sweep off Ed Barnard and at 94 for 5, Somerset required more than ten an over.

Sixes from Abell and Tom Lammonby raised hopes, but when Lammonby also perished to a reverse sweep off Barnard 58 were still needed.

Abell had moved to a well-crafted half-century, with a six and four fours. He added two boundaries from ramp shots before cutting a catch to cover off Brown.

With 24 required off the last two overs, van der Merwe took a couple of boundaries off Morris and it was 13 to win off the last.

Craig Overton smashed the second ball from Brown over deep square for six, but the bowler responded by having van der Merwe caught behind and Somerset had left themselves too much to do.

Somerset 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st0SM DaviesBabar Azam
2nd7SM DaviesWCF Smeed
3rd23SM DaviesTB Abell
4th43L GregoryTB Abell
5th21TB AbellEJ Byrom
6th27TB AbellTA Lammonby
7th13RE van der MerweTB Abell
8th30RE van der MerweC Overton
9th1C OvertonORT Sale