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Somerset solidify first place with batting display at Essex

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By seven wickets, Somerset 187 for 3 (Banton 42, Abell 40*) defeated Essex 186 (Das 72, Walter 51, Henry 3-24)

With a seven-wicket demolition of Essex, Somerset’s batting masterpiece solidified their leadership of the Vitality Blast South Group.

In an almost flawless team batting performance, Tom Banton (42), Will Smeed (36), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (28), Tom Abell (40 not out), and Sean Dickson (30 not out) combined to hit 16 sixes.

Following Essex’s collapse to 15 for 3, Paul Walter hit 51 runs and Robin Das hit a career-high 72 runs in a 94-run stand. However, Somerset broke Essex’s five-game winning streak by completing the chase of 186 with 21 balls remaining to take the lead in the division by two points.

With the intention of quickly ending the game, Smeed and Banton took on the 187 target, scoring 64 runs in 5.2 overs.

After only two overs, Somerset was only on 11, when Smeed took Shane Snater for three consecutive legside sixes in an over that yielded 23 runs. After Walter was taken for 15, both hitters helped themselves to maximums.

Smeed’s 16-ball 36-run barrage came to a halt when he toed to mid-on, but Kohler-Cadmore continued to batter Hayes Close with three sixes and 21 off Matt Critchley after that breakthrough.

The following ball, Banton, who had reversed a spectacular six, was leg-before to Sam Cook for 42 after Kohler-Cadmore cleared the press box.

When Snater was brought back for a second over, Dickson hit him twice more over the square leg boundary, giving the Dutch international a two-over total of 42 for 42.

In a rare reprieve from cannon fodder, Daniel Sams returned 2 for 22. He could have had three if Das had held onto Dickson, but Abell and Dickson quickly crossed the finish line.

Essex had put in a lot of work and was three down after three overs.

For his first Somerset Blast appearance of the year, Jack Brooks made his way back from his loan at Nottinghamshire, and in his first two overs, he had Feroze Khushi caught at deep point and Dan Lawrence skying, giving him a 2 for 8 total.

When Michael Pepper’s spectacular drive was touched behind, New Zealander Matt Henry took the first of his three wickets.

But with two different aggressive batting strategies, Das and Walter helped the hosts escape their predicament. With five sixes, Walter chose the aerial way. He started with a pair of pulls, then towered over cover, slog-swept Roelof van der Merwe, and last clubbed a full toss over cow corner to get his 26-ball fifty. He ran for the following ball as it fell for 51.

Das demonstrated some exquisite touch play and timing in his 11 fours, but he also showed some muscle with two sixes over long on. Prior to going off, he took 31 balls to reach his second T20 fifty and finished with 72 off 39.

The second Essex collapse, in which they lost their final five wickets for 43 runs in 31 balls, was started when he pinged Henry to long on.

After publicly dislocating and trying to realign his finger, Van der Merwe bowled Sams. Will Buttleman gave Henry 3 for 24. Simon Harmer was run out while backing up. Shane Snater was run out while pursuing a second. Matt Critchley was caught at short third after a resourceful 30.

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