Some brilliant bowling from Yasir Arafat and Alfonso Thomas was enough to see Somerset through to the quarter-finals of the Friends life t20 Championship as they beat Warwickshire by 10 runs at Birmingham.
After posting 175 on the board on the back of a brilliant half century by Craig Kieswetter, who was supported by Peter Trego and Nick Compton, Somerset looked as if they were in for an easy night.
But, after Stuttering to 65/3 in 9 overs, Darren Maddy and Laurie Evans got together to put on a century partnership, which right until the very end looked like it might be enough for the Bears to win the game.
But everything was in vain as Arafat and Thomas stuck to their guns and fired in yorker after yorker to send Somerset through.
It all started according to plan for Somerset who got off to a good start thanks to a well crafted 32 from Trego and a swashbuckling 32 from Compton.
But the star with the bat was undoubtedly the opener, Kieswetter who smashed 76 off 53 balls, including four fours and four sixes and ensured that Somerset set a daunting total for the Warwickshire Bears to chase.
The innings faltered towards the end with Kieswetter, Compton and Hildreth falling in quick succession but Jos Buttler gave the innings a much needed final push and propelled the total to 175.
In reply, the Bears didn’t get off to a good start as they lost three wickets in quick succession.
Darren Maddy, playing in his final t20 campaign and Evans, who was playing with a finger dislocated, were given the task of salvaging the innings.
All hope seemed lost when out of nowhere, both batsmen smashed half centuries to give the Bears a fighting chance with 45 required off the last four overs.
Unfortunately for them, these were to be bowled by arguably the most lethal death bowling duo in the county circuit at the moment: Arafat and Thomas.
And although Maddy and Evans managed to bring the target down to 22 off two overs, Thomas and Arafat bowled the final two overs with immense control and didn’t give away a single boundary.
A lot of credit must definitely go to Arafat, who was given the arduous task of bowling the final over with 14 runs to play with.
Many a bowler would have faltered, but he stepped up and bowled six perfect Yorkers and conceded just three runs to easily seal victory for Somerset and repay the faith shown by his captain.
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