Warwickshire Bears beat Somerset Sabers by 47 runs
Warwickshire sustained their hopes of reaching the Twenty20 Cup final with a crushing victory over Somerset.
Such was the margin of victory that the victors leap above the vanquished on run-rate to third position in the table. With only the first two teams sure to qualify, however, Warwickshire must still beat Northamptonshire tomorrow while hoping that results elsewhere go their way if they are to progress.
Central to Warwickshire?s performance was a brilliant cameo by Trevor Penney. The veteran batsman was drafted in to keep wicket in place of Stuart Eustace and rescued Warwickshire from a perilous position with a brilliant demonstration of one-day batting.
Penney is 37 and it cannot be too long before he concentrates purely on his burgeoning career as a coach. But he is eager to extend his playing career for a year or two yet and this demonstration of his abilities will have done no harm. He is out of contract at the end of the season and injuries had severely reduced his opportunities to impress until last night.
Penney (13 balls, three sixes and two fours) added much-needed impetus to the innings after a middle-order collapse threatened to squander an appropriately circumspect start.
Asked to bat in overcast conditions, Warwickshire were put on course for a competitive total by Ian Bell who compiled a mature 41 (35 balls). Bell can?t have been surprised to have been omitted from England?s one-day squad after a tally of only 67 runs in his last eight innings, but looked back in form as he timed the ball well from the off and caressed four boundaries.
Warwickshire, however, lost five wickets for the addition of only 12 runs in 13 deliveries of madness in midinnings. The unlikely destroyer was Wes Durston, a gentle off-spinner enjoying his first bowl in Twenty20, who claimed three wickets in his first over.
All three of Durston?s wickets owed something to the batsmen?s glee at the prospect of such appetising fare but Warwickshire were to have the last laugh as Somerset?s captain, Graeme Smith, was persuaded to give the part-time bowler another over.
He must have wished he had not when the first three balls cost 18. Penney, who struck three successive sixes, had some fortune when Matt Wood bundled a chance over the boundary but struck the ball well and followed up with two cleanly-hit boundaries off Simon Francis.
He performed reliably with the gloves, too, not conceding a single bye and clinging on to a couple of regulation catches on his way to winning the man-of-the-match award. It is hard to see a way back for Eustace.
Equally impressive was Warwickshire?s performance in the field. Despite a slippery ball, the Bears fielded magnificently, the highlight being an impossibly agile catch by Jim Troughton to dismiss the dangerous James Hildreth. The left-handed Troughton leapt into the air to snatch Hildreth?s well-timed pull shot out of the air with his right hand; a marvellous piece of cricket.
Neil Carter, who received the club?s player-of-the-month award earlier in the day, again produced a fine all-round performance. He took both the key wickets, including Ian Blackwell with a fine yorker, and struck two sixes and two fours in his earlyinnings blitz.
Victory was wrapped up by a hat-trick by James Anyon. The 22- year- old, who impresses more with every outing, will bowl better for no reward but showed admirable maturity by bowling straight and at decent pace to force the batsmen into errors. Hampshire?s Dimitri Mascarenhas is the only other bowler to have taken a hat-trick (against Sussex last year) in the competition?s history.
Meanwhile, Dougie Brown took four wickets as Scotland overwhelmed Papua New Guinea in the ICC Trophy.