Hampshire brush aside Somerset to set up Blast final showdown against Lancashire
Hampshire shook off their semi-final hoodoo in the Vitality Blast after defeating Somerset by 37 runs to set up a final clash against Lancashire at Edgbaston later on Saturday.
Finals Day has been an unhappy hunting ground for Hampshire since they last won the competition a decade ago, with five successive defeats, the most recent of which came against Somerset last year.
But they gained revenge this time around, with Tom Prest anchoring a total of 190 for six courtesy of his T20 best 64 from 46 balls before Hampshire constrained Somerset with a disciplined bowling display.
On a day of high totals, Somerset, winners in 2005 but runners-up on four occasions since then including last year against Kent, limped to 46 for two from the powerplay before they were all out for 153 after 19.3 overs.
Nathan Ellis used his subtle change of pace to start the rot as Will Smeed miscued a pull to mid-on and the Australia seamer finished with three for 30 by bowling Jack Brooks and Peter Siddle.
With openers Smeed and Tom Banton misfiring, much seemed to depend on the in-form Rilee Rossouw. Averaging 50 with a 197.36 strike-rate up to now, he seemed primed after dispatching Brad Wheal on to the roof of the Hollies Stand but then found Joe Weatherley at cow corner when attempting the same off James Fuller.
Captain Tom Abell contributed a punchy 27 but holed out to the deep midwicket boundary. Lewis Gregory took Somerset into three figures by bludgeoning his second ball straight for six but they still needed 87 from the last 42 balls, with Hampshire firmly in pole position.
Gregory followed Rossouw and Abell in being caught in the deep on the leg-side while Ben Green was run out amid a mid-pitch mix-up with Tom Lammonby, by now the last recognised batter.
Lammonby contributed 34, including a sweetly struck straight six off Fuller, but with 54 required from the final three overs, the asking rate was too high. Ellis returned for the final over and cleaned up lower-order pair Siddle and Brooks with successive deliveries to finish proceedings.
James Vince had earlier elected to bat first and he and Ben McDermott started well against a Somerset bowling attack shorn of Craig Overton, who is on England duty, and the injured Josh Davey.
There were some trademark drives from Vince (20 off 12) and three heaves for six from McDermott (31 off 17) although the pair were both caught by fielders backpedalling outside the ring in the powerplay.
Prest was the mainstay of the innings, taking two fours off Lewis Goldsworthy before driving then tickling fine off Green to help Hampshire to 100 for two at halfway. Prest twice whipped Gregory to the leg-side but was put down on 39 by the diving Smeed at deep midwicket.
Weatherley (24) and Ross Whiteley (27) made cameos for Hampshire before Prest cast off the shackles in the last over, hammering slow left-armer Roelof van der Merwe (two for 29) for his first six before perishing off the next ball. It mattered little as Hampshire had more than enough.
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