Nottinghamshire vs Yorkshire
After three successive losses to start their T20 Blast campaign, Yorkshire finally opened their account with a thrilling eight-run win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Tuesday (May 30). A Dawid Malan masterclass was the highlight of the visitors’ performance which also saw them come out with a brilliant display of defensive bowling at the back end to choke the Notts batters. Malan’s unbeaten 56-ball 95 was a knock typical of his class as he carried his bat to give Yorkshire a competitive total.
The Trent Bridge track had a fraction of hold in it despite still being a fine batting surface. Shan Masood was the only other Yorks batter to get a decent knock. Chasing 183 to win, Notts were on track despite losing Joe Clarke early, as Alex Hales and Colin Munro combined for a steady 84-run stand to keep the hosts on track. However, the scoring rate was never overly high and it meant that Yorkshire were always in with a chance. As a result, when the stand was broken, the Notts found themselves gradually losing their grip on the game thanks to some wonderful death bowling.
Brief scores: Yorkshire 182/7 in 20 overs (Malan 95*, Masood 34, Brooks 4-51) beat Nottinghamshire 174-4 in 20 overs (Hales 53, Munro 46, Wiese 2-32) by 8 runs.
Kent vs Somerset
A nuggety come-from-behind performance from Somerset saw them make it four out of four with a commendable 13-run win (DLS method) over Kent at St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury. It wasn’t the easiest of surfaces to bat on and batters from both sides struggled with the track offering enough for the quick bowlers. Opting to bowl, Kent’s pace trio of Michael Hogan, Wes Agar and Grant Stewart made full use of the conditions, sharing eight scalps between them to stifle Somerset’s batting unit.
Quite a few of the visitors’ batters got starts but weren’t able to convert them on this tricky batting track but a series of cameos got the score to a par range. Somerset’s potent bowling attack then got into the act, picking wickets from the get-go. Losing early wickets never helps in such chases and a rain delay meant that Kent had a shortened run chase to contend with. However, Somerset’s bowlers ensured that the pressure of the required rate was always around with wickets at regular intervals. Ben Green, Peter Siddle and Lewis Gregory shone with the ball for the visitors.
Brief scores: Somerset 154 in 20 overs (Lammonby 34, Agar 3-18, Hogan 3-33) beat Kent 112 in 15 overs (Billings 29, Green 3-19, Gregory 2-17) by 13 runs (DLS method).
Essex vs Gloucestershire
Essex started their T20 Blast season with a fairly comfortable three-wicket win over Gloucestershire at County Ground, Chelmsford. Although it was a last-over finish, the home side were well ahead throughout in the run chase, thanks to a blistering cameo from Feroze Khushi and a rollicking fifty from Robin Das, both of whom entertained thoroughly with their inventive strokeplay. The duo’s efforts broke the back of the chase in the first 10 overs itself, making the remaining a mere formality, although Gloucestershire did pick up regular wickets at the back end to make things a wee bit interesting.
Tom Westley, though, stayed till the end to ensure that there were no late twists. Earlier on, Ben Charlesworth’s fiery 20-ball 52 was the standout knock from another typically collective Gloucestershire performance that had more cameos than sizeable knocks in it. The high-intent approach from the tourists meant that they kept losing wickets but also had a good tempo to their innings. They ended with 195, which was probably about 10-15 runs short on a pitch that was true and aided strokeplay. The result gave Gloucestershire their third loss of the tournament from four games.
Brief scores: Gloucestershire 195/7 in 20 overs (Charlesworth 52, Dent 33, Walter 2-33) lost to Essex 196/7 in 19.1 overs (Das 69, Khushi 34, Price 2-27) by 3 wickets.