Vitality Blast - South Group

Somerset 130-4 beat Hampshire 129-8 by 4 wkts

SOMERSET saw off Hampshire in a low-scoring game to earn their fifth successive Vitality Blast victory and stretch their lead at the South Group summit to three points.

A fine display of control by Somerset's bowlers restricted Hampshire to 129-8, which the visitors passed in the penultimate over as Johann Myburgh (54*) anchored the chase.

Somerset won a rare toss and, having opted to field, crucially removed both dangerous Hampshire openers inside the powerplay.

Jamie Overton held on to a sharp catch at mid-wicket to see the back of Rilee Rossouw (16) before Jerome Taylor removed James Vince (16), whose leading edge was comfortably caught by Tom Abell at cover.

The hosts therefore ended the powerplay on 45-2 and the visiting bowlers continued to tie the batsmen down, with just one boundary in the next eight overs.

Wickets helped restrict the rate, as Tom Alsop (18) provided Lewis Gregory with his second scalp - Johann Myburgh holding on to the skier - and Roelof van der Merwe induced a false shot from Liam Dawson, who made just a single having scored a rapid 82 in the reverse fixture last week.

At 84-4 with six overs to go, Hampshire were in need of a late assault but it failed to materialise as Somerset's bowlers kept the pressure on.

Jamie Overton picked up the wicket his fine spell of variations deserved when Sam Northeast (30) flicked round the corner and James Hildreth made a tricky backpedalling catch at short fine-leg look routine.

The paceman claimed a second just two balls later as a well disguised slower ball was far too good for Joe Weatherley, who was clean bowled for 12 attempting a scoop to leave his side 97-6.

Overton finished with 2-21 from his four overs, the latest in a series of impressive spells from a seamer who is improving all the time in this format.

They were not the only notable figures among the Somerset bowling attack; Gregory finished with 2-27, Max Waller with 0-25 and Roelof van der Merwe with a remarkable 1-13 from four overs of superbly controlled left-arm spin.

Only Jerome Taylor could be described as expensive, the West Indian going for 39 from his four, but he did take three wickets to go with his five against the same opposition in Taunton last Wednesday as Hampshire finished on 129-8.

Myburgh, who yesterday announced he is to retire at the end of the season, initially looked in no mood to hang around in reply, taking 16 off Chris Wood's second over as Somerset raced to 32-0 off three.

Steve Davies, back in the side in place of the injured Tom Banton, looked less comfortable at the other end and survived a reprieve from his first delivery as Ryan Stevenson put down a tough chance at backward point - Stevenson gained his revenge and ensured his drop was not costly by having Davies caught at mid-wicket for six in his first over.

Neither Peter Trego or James Hildreth got going, each making nine from 17 balls on a two-paced wicket which made quick runs hard to come by.

Hildreth's departure left Somerset on 73-3 in the 12th over as the hosts gradually dragged themselves back into the game; the visitors mirrored their hosts in struggling to find the boundary in the overs following the powerplay.

Corey Anderson loosened the shackles with a much-needed boundary - Somerset's first in 56 deliveries - in the 14th over, which ended with the visitors needing 42 from the final six.

Anderson was next to go, adjudged lbw to a Liam Dawson delivery that was shown to be missing leg on replay, having struck several important blows in his 25.

Tom Abell joined Myburgh to see Somerset home - the opener finished with 54 not out from 47 balls and Abell with seven from 10, including the winning runs, as the visitors earned victory with seven balls to spare.

Somerset skipper Lewis Gregory said: "It's great to have this momentum and hopefully we can carry it on in these final group games.

"Hampshire made it really tough for us and put the squeeze on in the middle overs, so it was helpful to have Myby [Johann Myburgh] out there to see it through.

"We've played two games now on wickets which probably don't suit us, but the guys have adapted and found ways to win.

"[A home quarter-final] would be nice. We've put ourselves in a really good position in the group. There are three tough games to go but if we can win one or two of them then we should be OK for a home quarter."

Man of the match Johann Myburgh added: "It was certainly not a Taunton type wicket where you could just go gung-ho.

"When we lost a few wickets I had to be a bit more sensible than I would have liked to be. Thankfully Corey came in and was aggressive, and I was able to stay there until the end.

"We thought it would be slow and tricky. We like to be aggressive up front as we have a bit of a buffer with James Hildreth and Tom Abell, but once we lost a few wickets I had to adapt.

"A home quarter-final is important. We would have massive support at Taunton which would make a difference, but ultimately a quarter-final will be a tough game wherever it is played."

Next up for Somerset is the visit of Surrey on Friday (4.30pm).