Leach, Hildreth lead Somerset to win over Surrey
- Credit: PA
Jack Leach picked up three wickets on his T20 debut as Somerset eased to a convincing seven-wicket victory over Surrey in the Vitality Blast at the Kia Oval.
Nine years after playing his first game for the county, the 30-year-old England slow left-armer took three for 28 - including top scorer Will Jacks for 65 - to help restrict Surrey to 146 for eight.
Somerset lost Tom Banton cheaply but James Hildreth and 19-year-old Academy graduate Will Smeed broke the back of the chase with a second-wicket stand of 103, Somerset's second-highest for any wicket in T20.
Hildreth celebrated his 200th T20 appearance with an unbeaten 72, made off 59 balls with nine fours and two sixes, as Somerset wrapped up their second win in the South Group with eight balls to spare.
Earlier, Jacks lodged his second Blast half-century of the season from 43 balls including a brutal assault on Josh Davey in the fifth over when he took 20 off the Somerset seamer from four successive balls.
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Jamie Smith had become Leach's first victim in his second over thanks to a well-judged catch over his shoulder by Ben Green.
Jacks and Laurie Evans put on 52 for the second wicket, but Surrey struggled to accelerate after a mix-up led to Evans (10) being run out in the eighth over.
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Somerset's spinners relished the turn on offer, not least Leach who returned to the attack in the 12th over to have his former team-mate Jamie Overton (8) caught at extra cover before claiming Jacks in his next over, when he holed out to long off after facing 43 balls and hitting six fours and three sixes.
After Jacks, their next highest scorer was Rory Burns who made 18 before picking out deep mid-wicket with a slog sweep in the 19th over.
Surrey needed early wickets and Banton's disappointing form continued when he mis-timed a pull off Gus Atkinson for five. Surrey also employed plenty of spin but Hildreth and Smeed took few risks against them, deciding instead to take on the quicker bowlers, with Jade Dernbach's solitary over going for 19.
Smeed impressed, hitting five fours and three sixes in 42 from 29 balls before Dan Moriarty had him caught off a leading edge.
Lewis Goldsworthy (1) was bowled round his legs by Gareth Batty, but Tom Lammonby (23 not out), making his first Blast appearance of the season, and Hildreth got the job done.