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Somerset defeat Essex to win T20 Blast 2023

Somerset defeat Essex to win T20 Blast 2023

Somerset ended their long-awaited quest for T20 Blast glory as they triumphed over Essex in a thrilling encounter at Edgbaston, securing their second championship in the tournament’s history. Their previous victory came in 2005, when they defeated Lancashire at The Oval.

This time, Somerset displayed remarkable resilience, defending modest scores twice to overcome 2003 winners Surrey in the semi-final and 2019 champions Essex in the final, earning themselves the title of Kings of the South. The all-Southern Finals Day saw Somerset emerge victorious, following in the footsteps of Kent in 2021 and Hampshire in the previous year.

In a tense climax, Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s stunning one-handed catch with his outstretched left arm, removing Daniel Sams for 45, proved to be the pivotal moment. Sams’ explosive batting threatened to snatch victory for Essex, but Kohler-Cadmore’s catch off Matt Henry’s bowling secured Somerset’s triumph, giving Henry his fourth wicket and 31st of the tournament.

Somerset defeated Surrey to reach T20 Blast 2023 final

Somerset’s journey to the final included a successful defense of a seemingly underwhelming total of 142-7 against Surrey in the semi-final. The composed Sean Dickson played a crucial role, contributing an unbeaten 30 off 22 balls. In the final, Dickson improved on his earlier performance with a solid 53 runs. However, even with his contribution, it appeared insufficient against an Essex side that had won their previous four T20 matches at Edgbaston and had convincingly eliminated defending champions Hampshire in the semi-finals.

Matt Henry’s early breakthroughs, supported by the cunning spin of fellow New Zealand international Ish Sodhi, posed significant challenges for Essex. Will Smeed was the first Somerset wicket to fall, bowled by Shane Snater, who later claimed another victim when Tom Banton was dismissed attempting a reverse sweep. Kohler-Cadmore fell two overs later while attempting a cut shot, and Tom Abell skied a catch to mid-on off Paul Walter’s bowling. Lewis Gregory survived a close caught and bowled decision, and although he was later dismissed by Snater, Dickson guided Somerset to a total slightly higher than their earlier semi-final score.

Essex started their innings aggressively, with wicketkeeper Adam Rossington smashing four boundaries, propelling his side to 27 runs off just 11 balls. However, Rossington’s ambitious stroke play proved his downfall as he was caught in the covers off the final delivery of Henry’s first over. Henry continued his dominance by claiming two more wickets in the same over, dismissing Michael Pepper and prized batsman Dan Lawrence. Robin Das fell to Craig Overton, and Matt Critchley’s dismissal by Gregory left Essex reeling at 55-5.

Paul Walter and skipper Simon Harmer provided some resistance, allowing Sams to believe a comeback was possible. Nevertheless, Somerset’s Sodhi accounted for both Snater and Aaron Beard, extinguishing Essex’s hopes of a miraculous turnaround. Sams, displaying immense power, hit two crucial sixes to reduce the target to 15 runs off 11 balls. However, his eventual edge to Kohler-Cadmore’s left-hand side at short third man sealed Essex’s fate.

Somerset’s victory on Finals Day was met with mixed emotions from skipper Lewis Gregory, who acknowledged that their performance was not their finest. Nonetheless, he expressed delight at finally crossing the finish line and credited the team’s success to their talented squad and diligent recruitment efforts.

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