Report & Reaction: Hampshire Hawks v Somerset, Vitality Blast Semi-Final

Read the report and hear reaction after Hampshire Hawks secured their place in their first T20 final in ten years after beating Somerset by 37 runs

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Tom Prest smashed his highest Vitality Blast score to send Hampshire Hawks to their first Vitality Blast final for 10 years.

Academy star Prest cracked 64 to glue the Hawks’ innings together as they totted up 190, with useful contributions from Ben McDermott, James Vince, Joe Weatherley and Ross Whiteley.

A brilliantly control bowling and fielding display – headlined by three run outs, two wickets for Chris Wood and three for 30 for Nathan Ellis – made sure the Hawks were always in control of the game as Somerset fell 37 runs short. The Hawks gaining revenge for last year’s semi-final sorrow.

Hampshire will face Lancashire Lightning in the final at 6:45pm – the first time in seven attempts they will feature in the showpiece at Edgbaston.

Vince won the toss and decided to bat, with eight of their 10 victories in this season’s Blast coming when batting first, on a wicket that had seen 412 runs in the first semi-final.

It took 11 balls before the first boundary when McDermott lifted over cover to start a barrage of runs from the Australian and the skipper – who got going with a checked straight drive and a slap through point off Peter Siddle.

McDermott pinged a huge six into the Hampshire fan enclosure off his legs and then scooped a one-bounce four, as the pitch continued to look perfect for a huge score.

Vince departed when he sliced Roelof van der Merwe to cover to end a 47-run opening stand; his 20 took him to 673 runs in the competition. That brought Prest to the wicket. He avoided the ignominy of a golden duck for the second year in a row and took the Hawks past 50 with a cut to the boundary.

McDermott dispatched his third six over extra cover but fell similarly to Vince. Hampshire reached a healthy 69 for two in the powerplay.

The following five and a half overs saw Prest and Weatherley rotate the strike with maturity. Only four dot balls came in their 48-run partnership, with Weatherley nailing a reverse sweep the best of the scoring.

Weatherley, who scored 71 in last year’s semi-final, was brilliantly caught at long-on by former Hawk Rilee Rossouw.

Somerset tidied their bowling and made boundary hitting difficult but Prest crashed the cover and square ropes in back-to-back deliveries. He was dropped on 39 but arrived at his third Blast fifty of the season in 38 balls with a crunching straight strike.

Having not hit a six since the powerplay, Whiteley and then Prest followed suit in the 18th and 20th overs.

The Hawks managed to score 47 runs in the last five overs although saw Whiteley (27), Prest (64) and Liam Dawson all dismissed late on, as the Hawks set Somerset 191 to win.

After a solid start from Wood and Brad Wheal, Ellis piled the pressure on Will Smeed with two dot balls before getting the dangerman caught at mid-on by James Fuller. The overseas almost had Tom Banton caught at point two balls later but it fizzed agonisingly close to Dawson.

Banton couldn’t get going due to Wheal and Wood’s tight bowling and out of desperation took on a tight single to Mason Crane at backward point, who didn’t miss with a sensational direct hit. Somerset reached 46 for two in the powerplay, 23 runs shy of the Hawks at that stage.

Golden-arm Fuller dotted Rossouw up twice before a frustrated swipe picked out Weatherley on the deep midwicket boundary. His first over only went for a single run, which was backed up by Dawson’s following over conceding four.

Tom Abell and Tom Lammonby fought back for Somerset with a 47-run stand, but Dawson got the former sweeping straight to Weatherley in the 13th over. Dawson ended with his four overs going for a miserly 20 runs.

Lewis Gregory pulled Wheal to Ellis at deep midwicket, Ben Green was run out by some ingenious glovework from McDermott, and Lammonby also failed to make his ground as Hampshire gained total control.

Wood yorked Lewis Goldsworthy before Ellis castled Jack Brooks and Peter Siddle to end things with three balls to spare.

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