Tom Abell and Sean Dickson produced a scintillating fourth-wicket stand of 144 in 11.2 overs to lead Somerset to a 63-run Vitality Blast win over Hampshire Hawks at Taunton, writes Richard Latham.

Abell smashed an unbeaten 96 off just 47 balls and Dickson hammered 65 off 32 deliveries to help the hosts post 241 for five, their third highest ever Blast total, after losing the toss. Their stand was a Somerset record for the fourth wicket in the competition.

Hampshire replied with 178 all out, Ben McDermott hitting 46 off 28 balls and Ben Green claiming a career-best equalling five for 29. Victory put holders Somerset back on track after successive group defeats on the road.

The hosts did not allow the loss of three wickets in the powerplay to affect their momentum, reaching 58 for three by the end of the sixth over, despite the dismissals of Will Smeed, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Tom Banton.

If Hampshire were pleased to see the back of those three big-hitters, two of them to Michael Neser, their satisfaction soon turned to concern as Abell and Dickson set about their attack, taking the score past 100 in the 11th over.

Abell hit the first six of the game to bring up the 50-stand in 31 balls and the pair required only a further 18 deliveries to take their partnership to three figures. The 13th over, bowled by James Fuller, went for 21 as Abell crashed three successive fours through the off-side and Dickson ended it with two more boundaries.

Both players reached half-centuries in the 15th over, Dickson’s occupying 25 balls and Abell’s 30. Dickson celebrated with a six over backward point off John Turner and by the time he was caught at long-on off a Liam Dawson full toss the stand had overtaken Somerset’s previous best for the fourth wicket in Blast cricket – 110 between Babar Azam and Lewis Goldsworthy against Glamorgan at Cardiff in 2020.

Lewis Gregory smacked 18 off 8 balls and Abell ended his majestic knock with a straight six off Turner as Somerset completed their highest ever Blast total against Hampshire. Abell struck 12 fours and 3 sixes as only Benny Howell of the Hampshire bowlers went for less than ten an over.

McDermott and James Vince began the Hampshire reply undaunted and brought the fifty up in just 4.4 overs. By then end of the powerplay they had increased the total to 65, McDermott dominating with some savage blows.

Green made the vital breakthrough for Somerset in the eighth over, bowling McDermott with his second delivery as he advanced down the pitch, and struck again with his fourth ball as Vince lofted a catch to long-off to make it 78 for two.

The over ended any doubts about the outcome. Soon Hampshire were requiring more than 15 an over and Green, who claimed 30 Blast wickets with his medium pace last season, struck again when Joe Weatherley launched a catch to deep mid-wicket to make the score 101 for three in the 11th over.

James Fuller hit a straight 6 off Josh Davey, but perished next ball trying to repeat the feat. Howell cleared the ropes off successive van der Merwe deliveries, but when he and Toby Albert fell in the same Riley Meredith over Hampshire’s cause was lost and a clatter of wickets, including two for Green, followed.

Somerset top scorer Tom Abell said: “Sean Dickson took all the pressure off me with the way he batted. When we came together we had to think initially about rebuilding the innings, but the runs flowed and when you have only three wickets down with six or seven overs to go you are in a dominant position.

“I worked on a few things before the game and went into my innings in a good frame of mind. It was my second highest T20 score and I may have hit the ball more sweetly than when I scored a century.

“Ben Green works so hard on his game and deserves every wicket he gets. He has a great slower ball, a really accurate yorker and it is no surprise that he gets so many batsmen out in T20 cricket.

“Hopefully, the win puts us back on track after a couple of defeats. But no one will be getting carried away because we know how quickly things can change in this form of the game.”