Somerset 265 for 5 (Rossouw 93, Banton 73) defeated derbyshire 74 (Siddle 3-10, Green 3-17) by 191 points
Somerset hit 265 for 5, overtaking Birmingham’s 261 for 2, achieved against Nottinghamshire just three weeks ago. Eighteen sixes rained down on a jubilant crowd. A hot air balloon sailing close to the ground would have been better advised not to lose altitude for a closer look.
Derbyshire never managed to chase 200, so 266 was a bit of a ask. They capsized for 74, not a single six in response, though many failed, their thoughts turning to themselves long before they started the return trip. Their northern group campaign was worthy of respect as they drew all their ability from themselves, but it could hardly have been a more gruesome night.
Derbyshire head coach Mickey Arthur didn’t mince words. “It was embarrassing,” he said. “We’re not happy that we just reached the quarter-finals and tonight we didn’t execute our skills. We were hesitant, we didn’t play well and we didn’t nail our skills with the balloon, with the exception of George Scrimshaw, who was outstanding. It was very disappointing because I felt we bottled him up.
All off-bat runs in this game fell on Rossouw, who repeatedly found the ball in his arc and dealt with it forcefully – as he has done all season. He now has 600 carries, the best return in Somerset history, and this season second only to Hampshire’s James Vince, with an extravagant strike rate of 197.36.
Somerset’s power play had been locked down for most of the night, but when Tom Lammonby took 24 of his first five balls, Aitchison the bowler to suffer, the team’s highest score hovered in sight. Hughes’ wide half-volley, slapped straight for six in the final, duly reached her.
All that said, how did Somerset get to 49 from five overs without dropping a wicket? That they did and settled the game. For Will Smeed, it was an evening of learning. Possibly the most painful learning night of his career. He’s one of the most exciting young power hitters in the game. But if he needed to be reminded that his prowess is limited – he’s yet to make his debut in four days – Scrimshaw provided it by knocking down opening for the first time in his career and revealing the limits of Smeed.
Scrimshaw is tall and lanky, and styles a slightly wicked mustache to develop an air of menace. He played fast and short on a pitch with plenty of rebound for the new ball, his line crooked at times but his potential clear to see. Smeed dressed his fourth ball so badly that he didn’t reach the middle and swooped short balls without making contact. He was bruised, physically and mentally. He’s often Taunton’s darling at T20 nights like this, but it spoke to him about the challenges of reaching the top level.
Surprisingly, Scrimshaw didn’t have a second longer. It felt like Derbyshire was sticking to pre-match plans for how they would negotiate the power play. It would have taken a captain sure of his instincts to change tack and the captain so far, Shan Masood, had been called up by Pakistan.
All that was missing from the Derbyshire night was an exhausted comedy. “No, big ‘un,” McKiernan shouted at Aitchison as he attempted a second run to deep midwicket. The cry was not heard. Maybe he thought Scrimshaw was the big ‘one these days. Disheartened looks were briefly exchanged. Derbyshire had endured a disastrous night.
David Hopps writes about county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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