T20 Blast: South Div Review
Somerset survived a late scare to breathe life back into their NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a dramatic one-run victory over leaders Hampshire on Friday night.
Somerset, Twenty20 champions in 2005 and runners-up in three of the last five years, had lost their last three matches in the competition but a fine all-round performance from Peter Trego helped them end that run against in-form Hampshire at Taunton.
Trego, who turned 33 on Thursday, followed up his 94 not out against Glamorgan last time out with a 48-ball 76 as Somerset ran up a daunting 176-4 batting first.
Trego then claimed the wickets of James Vince and Jimmy Adams cheaply to leave Hampshire having to play catch-up in their run chase.
And with 30 runs needed off the last eight balls, a home victory looked assured, only for Will Smith to set Somerset hearts racing as he clubbed three sixes in a quickfire 25.
With Smith's heroics, the target came down to four needed off the last two deliveries, but Alfonso Thomas kept his cool to earn Somerset the victory and inflict only a second defeat in six games on 2010 and 2013 winners Hampshire.
Essex beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Chelmsford to go top of the table.
England's Ravi Bopara cleared the rope six times in his unbeaten 66 while Tom Westley contributed 55 not out as Essex reached Gloucestershire's 162-6 - built around Hamish Marshall's 74 - with nine balls to spare.
The first tie of this season's competition came at Sophia Gardens where Glamorgan and Kent shared the spoils in a thrilling clash that saw both teams finish on 177.
Darren Stevens' typically brutal 71, which came off just 39 balls and included six sixes, appeared to have put Kent on the verge of victory as they needed just three runs off the final over from Michael Hogan.
Kent appeared certain to home in on victory. They needed three runs from the final six balls but Australian Hogan removed both Mitchell Claydon and Adam Ball to set up a thrilling finale, and, although the visitors matched the total, Doug Bollinger was ran out off the final delivery as the match thrillingly finished as a tie.
Surrey cruised to a 10-wicket victory in their clash with Sussex at The Oval.
Set a target of 149 to win, Hashim Amla and Jason Roy guided the hosts to victory in 15.3 overs to give Surrey their third win from five games.
Surrey got off to a flying start, reaching 42 from just three overs, and the result never looked in doubt.
Roy was the more aggressive of the opening pair, hitting 81 from 43 balls, with two sixes and 11 fours. Amla finished on 61, striking the winning two runs from his 50th ball.
Kevin Pietersen had been due to come in at number three but his team-mates' prowess meant he did not need to leave the pavilion.
Sussex, who were without England duo Matt Prior and Chris Jordan, hung on to their wickets fairly well in their total of 148-5 but were unable to score at a fast enough rate to put too much pressure on Surrey's response.
It was a sobering result for the Sharks, who had hoped to repeat the thrilling victory they claimed over Surrey in their opening match.