It seems almost sacrilegious to be moving on from Somerset’s glorious win at Edgbaston yesterday but that’s the situation that Tom Abell’s side have to deal with as they prepare to face the old enemy at Bristol tomorrow evening. Move on we must
Gloucestershire like Somerset will be on a high after winning at Derbyshire late yesterday. Chasing 263 to win following a “generous” declaration James Bracey led the chase with an unbeaten 116 in an 8-wicket win. Gloucestershire moved up to second and are in line for promotion to division one 19 points clear of fourth placed Glamorgan.
In the Blast Somerset lie fifth one point and one place below tomorrow’s opponents and the last quarter final place, but with a far superior net run rate and with a game in hand. A win for Somerset would put them in a strong position to qualify for the knockout phase.
Somerset’s recent record at Bristol is poor having lost the last three games in the T20 there but over last 10 games the spoils are shared five each. Only two of the last winning side in 2016 are in tomorrow’s squad, James Hildreth and Max Waller.
Having also lost at Bristol in early May in the One Day Cup Somerset are all too aware of the perils of the likely surface tomorrow. Bristol has earned a reputation of being a slow and low surface which does not lend itself to high scoring. In 2018 the average first innings score at Bristol was 175 but in three games there this season this has fallen to 157.
Somerset’s selection will be interesting. This is definitely not a surface that will suit the Overtons so I would like to see a bowling attack of Max and Roleof, Jerome Taylor, Timmy G and one of Craig or Tom Lammonby with Tom Abell prepared to turn his arm over as well. But far and away the most intriguing selection option is presented by Dom Bess’ inclusion in the squad. Will Somerset dare to play three spinners tomorrow evening?
The batting line up is pretty settled so I’d be surprised to see any changes there.
While the first priority for Somerset over these last four group games is to confirm a quarter-final place a top two finish and a resulting home quarter-final is well within reach. If Somerset can beat the two teams they have still to play who sit above them in the group (Gloucestershire and Middlesex) and pick up one further win over either Glamorgan or Surrey their superior run rate should see them into that position.
Middlesex’s defeat against Hampshire means that a win tomorrow will put Somerset into third on net run rate while top of the table Sussex, who lost at home to Essex are would be only two points clear and with a rapidly diminishing net run rate.
It’s on people. It is seriously on.