Somerset duly sealed their spot in the semi finals of the CB40 competition today with a comprehensive win by 64 runs over Surrey at Taunton, and lets be honest, it was never really in doubt.
In fact from the moment the team was announced it wasn't looking good. I know the selection policy of Schofield and Batty in the same side hasn't cost us too often this season but against a side with the batting strength of Somerset, only five frontline batsmen (I count Spriegel as an allrounder) was always a huge gamble. If you look at Somerset's six and seven - Buttler and Trego, compared to Spriegel and Schofield who have their merits as cricketers for sure, but in a batsman's paradise like Taunton you'd always err on the side of the extra bat in a limited overs contest, wouldn't you? Couple that with the fact that Wilson is in good form after his maiden Championship hundred in the week - I think he can count himself unlucky not to have been included today.
Presumably Spriegel made it into the side ahead of Wilson because of his bowling (and ultimately he justified his spot with an unbeaten 48) but Hamilton-Brown only gave him a single over, the penultimate one, off of which 20 runs were scored - I'm not sure that really makes sense at all.
Somerset got off to a blazing start as Kieswetter found his old self and smashed 79 off 60 balls, although he did slow down a lot towards the end. He set an excellent platform on which de Bruyn and Buttler were able to smash accomplished fifties. Buttler in particular was impressive and in him Somerset really do have a gem of a player.
Tremlett had an absolute nightmare, leaking 71 runs from 6 overs, Cheetham and Dernbach were probably spared more chastening figures as batsmen looked to target Tremlett. It would be a shame if after leading the attack so magnificently all summer Tremlett had a dip in form right at the end of the season. Again our two most economical bowlers, Batty and Schofield, were left with un-bowled overs at the end, this has to be put down to poor calculation from the skipper.
Our reply started in the worst possible way, Hamilton-Brown was out in the first over trying to hit Thomas over the top - never an easy thing. Davies was gone soon after and with him went all hope of a win. Walters and particularly Ramps batted well, but you always felt one of Davies or Hamilton-Brown had to play a special knock if we were to have a chance. Credit to Dernbach who is showing burgeoning ability as a slogger at the end of an innings, he biffed 31 off 14 balls.
Qualification through topping the group is now obviously out of the question, and we're well behind Sussex, Essex and Notts in the race for the 'best loser' spot. After all the excellent work in the early stages of this competition, the recent performances against Sussex and today's game have been a real disappointment. Make no mistake, this season has been a massive improvement over last, but that doesn't mean failure in the end isn't still very frustrating.
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