REPORT & HIGHLIGHTS: Five-star Yasir helps Sussex to victory at Somerset10-Aug-2014
Yasir Arafat claimed five wickets against one of his many former clubs as Sussex boosted their hopes of a Royal London One-day Cup quarter-final place with a seven-wicket win over Somerset, in a match reduced to 33 overs per side at Taunton.
The hosts posted a modest 193 for eight after losing the toss, Colin Ingram top-scoring with 71, while Nick Compton hit 42 and James Hildreth 42 not out. Arafat returned five for 36 from seven overs.
Sussex were set a revised target of 189 under the Duckworth-Lewis system and eased home with 24 balls to spare thanks to an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 94 between Matt Machan (47 not out) and skipper Ed Joyce, who finished unbeaten on 46. Jack Leach took two for 21 from seven overs.
After a delayed 11.00am start was prevented by further rain, play began at 11.40pm with the game initially reduced to 44 overs per side. Somerset quickly plunged into trouble as Marcus Trescothick played on, trying to leave the first ball of the second over, bowled by Arafat.
The next delivery saw Peter Trego, who had scored centuries in Somerset’s previous two games, caught behind down the leg side and by the time the rain returned after 5.1 overs Somerset were 10 for two.
The action resumed at 1.45pm and, with the sun breaking through, batting looked a good deal easier. Ingram and Compton exercised caution, the latter enjoying a slice of luck on 28 when playing a ball from Chris Liddle onto his off stump without the bail being removed.
Ingram swept a six off Will Beer as the total approached the 100-mark, but one run short Compton was lbw to Liddle falling across his stumps, having looked in little trouble.
It was 157 for four in the 27th over when Ingram ran himself out, calling for a second run to fine leg and beaten by Liddle’s throw to the wicketkeeper. The South African had faced 74 balls and hit 7 fours and a six.
Hildreth looked in good touch, but was unable to conjure up sufficient boundaries in his 43-ball knock and Somerset’s hopes of a big finish were dashed when Arafat removed Lewis Gregory (18), Tim Groenwald and Craig Meschede in the final over.
Sussex approached their revised target with gusto, Chris Nash pulling a six off Alfonso Thomas in only the fourth over, which ended with 33 already on the board.
Luke Wright brought up the 50 in the sixth over by lifting Tim Groenewald over mid-wicket for a maximum. The opening stand was worth 86 when Nash was run out for 30 off the final ball of the tenth over, setting off for a single dabbed to short third-man and being beaten by wicketkeeper Alex Barrow’s direct hit when sent back.
The next over saw Wright, on 42, drive a return catch to left-arm spinner Leach, having faced 32 balls and hit 6 fours and a six. And Somerset were back in it when Craig Cachopa was caught by Gregory for five, having skied Leach to mid-on.
Leach’s figures would have been even better had Barrow not missed a simple stumping chance offered by Machan on 19, with the total 129 for three. It was an error the home side could not afford and was symptomatic of a poor fielding display.
Several catches went down as Machan and Joyce saw their side to a comfortable success, both pacing their innings to perfection.
Afterwards Arafat, who was twice on a hat-trick, said: “After losing our first two games confidence is growing all the time and we now have a great chance of reaching the quarter-finals."