Natwest T20 Blast

Somerset 207-9 beat Middlesex 186-7 by 21 runs

SOMERSET ended a run of 10 T20 matches without a win courtesy of a 21-run victory over Middlesex that saw them leapfrog their opponents in the South Group table.

Adam Hose made 59 as Somerset racked up 207-9, and Craig Overton then took 3-24 as the hosts fell 21 runs short of the target at Uxbridge.

Having won the toss for the second time in as many days, Somerset skipper Jim Allenby elected to make first use of a flat pitch and opted to bat for the first time in this year's competition.

Tom Banton came in for his Somerset debut, replacing Steve Davies - who had a 'slight neck injury' - behind the stumps, while Lewis Gregory was promoted to open the batting alongside Allenby.

Gregory slotted seamlessly into his new role with two early boundaries, but his captain received a life before he had scored as Paul Stirling put down a tough chance at slip in an eventful first over.

Allenby was not so lucky at the start of the third over, lofting Steven Finn to James Franklin to depart for three, and the England bowler then cleaned up Peter Trego in the same over as Somerset were reduced to 19-2.

New man Adam Hose settled in quickly, taking 17 from a James Franklin over before Gregory was bowled by a Nathan Sowter googly to depart for 37.

Hose continued at pace, hitting Finn for six on his way to a maiden T20 half-century, while James Hildreth also began to express himself and took Somerset past 100 with an upper cut over the ropes.

Hildreth hit consecutive sixes off Sowter to move to 33 from 16 balls, but the spinner had the last laugh as the 32-year-old chipped a return catch back to the bowler on 38.

Sowter then claimed the key wicket of Hose in his next over as the batsman was hit on the pads and sent on his way for 59, and Michael Leask followed shortly afterwards as he picked out Brendon McCullum at extra cover to leave Somerset 150-6 with 5.2 overs remaining.

Debutant Banton went for four, but Roelof van der Merwe - surprisingly sent in down the order at eight - joined forces with Craig Overton and Josh Davey to help Somerset past 200 for the first time in a T20 fixture since May 2015.

Michael Leask then opened the bowling for the visitors and kept it tight, conceding just five from his first over, while from the other end Davey picked up the key wicket of McCullum as the New Zealander chipped a slower delivery to Peter Trego at mid-off.

Banton then showed his skills behind the stumps, pulling off a superb stumping down the leg side to dismiss Dawid Malan off the bowling of Michael Leask as Middlesex slipped to 25-2.

Somerset continued to keep the hosts in check, barring the occasional maximum from Paul Stirling, and Middlesex were comfortably behind the required rate at 79-2 after 10 overs.

The start of the 12th over brought the next breakthrough as Craig Overton had Stirling caught by Lewis Gregory on 39, and the same player held on to another chance to remove Eoin Morgan (30) and provide Max Waller with his first wicket of the afternoon.

The home side brought themselves back into the match as 26 came from the 15th over, bowled by Davey, but Somerset fought back as Overton dismissed Franklin for 25.

With 55 required from three overs, Roelof van der Merwe calmed the nerves by conceding just four from his final over and picking up the wicket of Simpson to finish with 1-25, but 19 runs from the penultimate over meant the result was not beyond doubt going into the final six balls.

It was Overton who was tasked with holding his nerve, and the seamer did just that as well as dismissing Toby Roland-Jones with the final ball of the match to end with 3-24 and seal Somerset's first victory in this format since June 2016.

Allenby's men now have three points from their first four matches, all of which have been away, and attention now turns to the local derby against Gloucestershire in front of a sell-out crowd in Taunton on Friday.