NatWest T20 Blast
South Group
Somerset 189-3 beat Hampshire 91 all out by 98 runs

SOMERSET'S dream performance against Hampshire, married with results elsewhere, sent them into the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals on a dramatic final night of South Group action.

Peter Trego delivered the perfect riposte to criticism by some Somerset fans after Sunday's Glamorgan defeat, as he hit a stellar, unbeaten 84 while dovetailing superbly with Johann Myburgh (58) and James Hildreth (39no), to take the visitors to 189-3 at the Ageas Bowl.

Craig Overton and Roelof van der Merwe then took three wickets apiece in an imperious bowling display that dismissed Hampshire for 91, and results elsewhere allowed Somerset to squeeze into the top four in the South Group standings.

With Dean Elgar out with a shoulder injury (meaning the South African batsman may well have played his last match for Somerset on Sunday), Michael Leask came into the team, while Tim Groenewald replaced Paul van Meekeren - the visitors choosing not to select a third spinner.

Somerset won the toss and chose to bat first, but opener Steve Davies only lasted four balls before going for a duck, caught behind off Liam Dawson.

Myburgh joined captain Jim Allenby in the middle and quickly got into his stride with several quick boundaries as the pair began to rebuild the innings, reaching 23-1 from three overs.

Allenby (7), however, departed off the final ball of the fourth over (caught on the boundary by Gareth Berg off the bowling of Chris Wood), leaving Somerset on 26-2.

Successive boundaries off Kyle Abbott got Trego up and running, and Myburgh then hit Dawson for the first six of the match... and followed it with another, even bigger maximum later in the sixth over.

The pair were dealing out some punishment to the Hampshire attack, and Myburgh hit another massive six on his way to 51 off 22 balls, and the away side had 82-2 off nine overs.

Myburgh's explosive innings ended on 58 (off 29 balls, with five 4s and three 6s), however, as he was deceived by the second ball from Jake Lintott and caught at cover point by George Bailey.

The hosts were taking pace off the ball, with Lintott and Shahid Afridi making life more uncomfortable for the batsmen, though Trego scored a welcome boundary to get his side to 100-3 off 12 overs.

After a quiet spell of decelerated scoring, Trego hit Wood for four and six off successive balls, as he and Hildreth formed a 50 partnership and moved the visitors' total onto 128-3 off 15 overs.

Trego brought up his half-century (51 off 38 balls) - easily his best performance in this competition this season - and followed up with a couple of fours to finish the 17th over, taking the away side to 152-3.

The final three overs were Somerset's undoing against Glamorgan on Sunday, but Abbott and Wood could not stem the flow of runs from the visitors, as Trego launched Wood for six, his second of the innings.

Somerset posted a very competitive 189-3 from their 20 overs, with Trego finishing on 84no (off 50 balls, with nine 4s and two 6s) and Hildreth 39no (off 27 balls, with two 4s) - a 100 partnership between the two West Country stalwarts.

Afridi (0-23 off four overs) and Lintott (1-24 off three) were the pick of the Hampshire bowlers.

The hosts' reply got off to a poor start, as Max Waller - the star bowler of Somerset's T20 campaign - bowled Calvin Dickinson (3) with the fourth ball of the innings.

Hampshire captain James Vince (2) followed in the second over, caught by Myburgh off Overton's first ball, and Overton's sixth delivery brought a third wicket - Bailey skying a shot and Tim Groenewald taking the catch.

That left the hosts on 10-3, but Tom Alsop and Liam Dawson stabilised matters, reaching 30-3 off five overs - only for Dawson (4) to be clean bowled by Groenewald to leave his side 40-4.

Alsop's productive innings of 36 ended when he was caught at long-on by Van der Merwe off Waller - his 15th wicket in the competition this season - at 58-5, with the Somerset bowlers delivering consistently economical performances.

With the home batsmen increasingly frustrated, Sean Ervine (7) followed - caught by Hildreth off Lewis Gregory - and Hampshire were in disarray at 62-6 after 10 overs. 

It got even worse for the hosts in the 11th over, with Berg (4) stumped by Davies off Van der Merwe, and Abbott went for a duck in the same over, trapped lbw, to leave Hampshire 64-8.

Van der Merwe claimed his third wicket in the 13th over, Afridi (5) caught and bowled, but the last-wicket pair of Wood and Lintott put up a stubborn stand through to the 19th over, where Overton took his third wicket - having Lintott (8) caught behind - to finish it off.

Unsurprisingly there were some excellent bowling figures for Somerset, with Van der Merwe 3-13 off four overs, Waller 2-15 off four and Overton 3-17 off 3.3.

The win secured, all eyes turned to the other matches which affected Somerset's chances - the Cidermen ending the group stage with six wins, 14 points and a net run rate of +0.491.

Sussex defeated Essex by 55 runs, but Somerset's big win saw them overtake Sussex on net run rate (+0.491 to +0.423), and Glamorgan beat Middlesex by seven wickets in a reduced overs match.

That all means that Somerset join Glamorgan, Surrey and Hampshire in the last eight, and they will travel to face Nottinghamshire, who finished top of the North Group, at Trent Bridge on Thursday with a semi-final place at stake.