SOMERSET suffered their fourth T20 defeat from six games, as AB de Villiers' outstanding unbeaten 88 inspired Middlesex to victory at Richmond.

The visitors' bowling efforts again came under the spotlight as Middlesex posted 215-4 after being asked to bat first, and Somerset ultimately came up 35 runs short despite scores of 41 from Tom Banton and Tom Abell.

Skipper Abell said afterwards: "They got 10 or 20 more than we would have liked.

"It’s obviously a small ground here and a quick outfield.

"At half-time I thought we were in the game – but we slightly let ourselves down with the bat.

"We were looking to be positive right the way through but some of the options we took and the timing of them could have been better.

"When you’re chasing 220 you’re always under pressure to score, but equally I don’t think we helped ourselves.

"We lost a flurry of wickets in a short space of time and that can’t happen if you want to get over the line."

The day began with Abell winning the toss and opting to have a bowl, but the hosts cruised to 78 before the first wicket fell - Craig Overton taking the scalp of Paul Stirling (31).

That only succeeded in bringing de Villiers to the crease, and the South African bludgeoned nine sixes and a four in his 35-ball knock.

He was ably supported by Dawid Malan (56), who eventually fell to Tom Lammonby (2-32 off three overs), the Somerset all-rounder also dismissing England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan (11).

John Simpson added a quick-fire 21, but this was de Villiers' show, as he took at least one maximum from all but one of the Somerset bowlers, with Jerome Taylor (1-56 off four), Jamie Overton (0-35 off three) and Craig Overton (1-30 off three) all proving expensive.

Chasing 216 to win, the visitors could have done without the early loss of Pakistan star Babar Azam, but he was bowled by Mujeeb Ur-Rahman (2-36 off four) with just four to his name.

Banton and James Hildreth (28 from 11 balls) counter-attacked well, with a second-wicket partnership of 66 from 25 balls.

But Hildreth chopped on to Steven Finn (2-62 off four), and then Banton was trapped by Nathan Sowter (4-29 off four) for 41 from 25 balls.

That sparked a collapse, as leg-spinner Sowter went on to account for Eddie Byrom (4), Lammonby (8) and Craig Overton (1).

The visitors had slid from 79-1 to 107-7, although Abell tried to recover the situation, his 41 from 33 balls was not enough.

He was superbly caught by Finn from the bowling of Mujeeb, and after Taylor hit 19, Max Waller was run out by Finn to end the chase.

Abell added: "We want to play fearless cricket and put the opposition under as much pressure as we can.

"The other night against Surrey, it paid off really well; today we’ve fallen short.

"We were right up with the run rate, we just lost too many wickets too early on.

"There’s a pretty quick turnaround between games so we need to get our thinking right and execute slightly better at the back end of the innings."

Their hopes of making the knockout stages very much in the balance, Somerset now go to Essex on Wednesday, for a 7pm start at Chelmsford.