NatWest T20 Blast - South Group
Essex 170-6 beat Somerset 148-9 by 22 runs

SOMERSET suffered their second defeat in two games in the NatWest T20 Blast, as they were outclassed by Essex in Chelmsford.

Despite a fairly controlled bowling performance from the visitors, home captain Ryan ten Doeschate made a half-century in the outstanding batting performance of the night.

And the away side's chase was punctured by regular wickets (Simon Harmer and Paul Walter taking three apiece) and dazzled by the pace of Mohammad Amir, as they fell well short of the target.

Somerset made two changes from their loss to Surrey - Johann Myburgh coming in for the injured Corey Anderson and opening the batting with skipper Jim Allenby, and Tim Groenewald replacing Josh Davey.

They won the toss and chose to bowl first, with hosts Essex sprinting to 17 runs off the first two overs.

The in-form Lewis Gregory made the breakthrough, however, as he bowled Dan Lawrence (16) in the fourth over.

Hot on the heels of the first wicket, Craig Overton removed Varun Chopra (caught by Tim Groenewald) and Groenewald clean bowled Tom Westley, both for 10, in the subsequent two overs to leave Essex 36-3.

The partnership between Ravi Bopara and ten Doeschate looked pivotal for the hosts, and they scored well until the 12th over, when Bopara was caught and bowled by Max Waller for 24, with the home side on 86-4.

The bowling from Somerset - and Overton in particular - was much tighter than against Surrey, but Ashar Zaidi then hit two successive 6s off Waller to take Essex past 100.

The visitors struggled to shift that fifth-wicket pairing, and although Gregory and Groenewald did well to limit the scoring to 121-4 from 16 overs, looser overs from Allenby and Overton saw the home side move up to 146-4 from 18 - their captain ten Doeschate reaching his 50 off 34 balls.

Roelof van der Merwe eventually sent ten Doeschate packing for 56 (caught at long-off by Overton), and Zaidi followed in the last ball of that 19th over, run out by Van der Merwe for 35.

Two 4s off the final two balls from Walter saw Essex finish their 20 overs on 170-6, with Overton (1-25) and Groenewald (1-29) the most economical of the Somerset bowlers.

After surviving the opening over from the rapid Amir, Allenby and Myburgh reached 18 before the latter went for 7 (caught by Harmer off Jamie Porter) in the third over.

Peter Trego came in and took a while to find his feet, but Allenby was finding the boundary well enough as Somerset reached 30-1 from five overs.

The eighth over - bowled by Harmer - proved a costly one for the visitors, though, as Allenby went for 25 (caught by ten Doeschate) and Trego followed for 17 (caught Westley), leaving Somerset 53-3.

Steve Davies was out six balls later, caught behind off Bopara for 4, but James Hildreth and Adam Hose consolidated and took the away team up to 65-4 from 10 overs.

Hildreth looked in good touch, striking a couple of big 6s, but Harmer claimed his scalp - and a third wicket in the match - as ten Doeschate took the catch, Hildreth gone for 27 to leave his side 96-5 in the 14th over.

Amir applied more pressure to the visiting batsmen, and beat Hose for pace in the next over, the Somerset man edging behind to depart for 15.

Van der Merwe and Gregory struggled to score boundaries as tight Essex bowling pushed the required run rate up. 

Gregory struck two successive boundaries but was then caught behind off Walter, and Somerset needed 36 from the final two overs.

There were to be no miracles, as Overton went for 6 (caught by Lawrence) and Groenewald for a duck (caught Zaidi) as Walter took two wickets in the final over, and Somerset finished 22 runs adrift.

It was a good evening for the Essex bowlers, with Amir ending on 1-17 off four overs, and Harmer and Walter taking three wickets apiece.

Somerset's next match is away to Glamorgan on Saturday (7pm start), as they stay in the hunt for their first win in this year's T20 competition.