Somerset maintain Vitality Blast hopes, but Middlesex miss out
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Somerset maintained their push for a top-four finish in the Vitality Blast South Group with a five-run win over Middlesex under the DLS method at Taunton.
The hosts were bowled out for 152 in 18.1 overs after losing the toss, crashing from 97 for three at the halfway point. Devon Conway hit 45 and Will Smeed 33, while Blake Cullen picked up four for 32 and Steven Finn two for 16.
Middlesex had replied with 114 for six off 16 overs when rain prevented further play. Nathan Sowter was unbeaten on 37, while Craig Overton claimed three for 28.
A seventh defeat in 11 group games ended the visitors' hopes of reaching the knock-out stage.
Already without four key players, Somerset were dealt another blow when skipper Lewis Gregory pulled out with a calf injury in the warm-up.
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But despite the early loss of George Bartlett, the home side prospered in the powerplay. Conway looked in great touch from ball one, which he cover drove for four.
The New Zealander uppercut a six off Tom Helm, while Smeed collected a maximum off Mujeeb Ur Rahman as they took the total to 53 for one after six overs.
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Smeed then dispatched Cullen over midwicket for six before the the ninth over saw Conway run out, sent back attempting a second run following Smeed's pull to the midwicket boundary.
Conway's impressive knock had come off 26 balls and his dismissal proved a major turning point. The next over saw Smeed caught at deep mid-wicket off Cullen, having faced 23 deliveries, and suddenly Middlesex took a grip.
From 95 for two in the middle of 10th over, Somerset lost eight wickets for 57 runs - Cullen leading the way by removing Lewis Goldsworthy, Ben Green and Marchant de Lange after the latter smashed 20 off 11 balls with three sixes.
Overton, captaining his side in the absence of Gregory, fell for a first-ball duck but atoned in the opening over of the Middlesex reply by scattering Stephen Eskinazi's stumps.
Soon it was 15 for two as Max Holden skied an attempted pull off Jack Brooks to Conway, keeping wicket following Tom Banton's call into the England one-day squad.
Overton and Brooks shared the first six overs, which ended with Middlesex 45 for three, Overton having removed Joe Cracknell.
De Lange, Green and Tom Lammonby then provided excellent support as Daryl Mitchell, John Simpson and Luke Holman perished to aggressive seam bowling on a pitch with plenty of pace.
Sowter did his best to revive Middlesex hopes, hitting a six off Max Waller and four fours before the rain intervened. But Overton had led his troops shrewdly and passionately to mastermind an important win.