Vitality Blast - semi-final

Sussex Sharks 202-8 beat Somerset 167-8 by 35 runs

SOMERSET'S 13-year wait for silverware will stretch into another season after a disappointing display saw them overpowered by Sussex in the Vitality Blast semi-final at Edgbaston.

Appearing at finals day for the first time since 2012, Somerset were outplayed with bat and ball by their opponents and fell 35 runs shy of chasing a score of 202-8 which was comfortably above-par on a slow wicket.

READ MORE: As it happened - pictures, fan shots and match action from T20 Finals Day

That Sussex were able to reach such a score was largely down to two particularly expensive overs; the 13th, bowled by Jamie Overton, cost 31, and the 15th, delivered by Lewis Gregory, went for 27 as the Sharks raced from 110-3 to 177-3 in the space of just three overs.

Somerset pegged Sussex back well at the death and had a glimmer of hope during an 84-run fifth-wicket stand between Tom Abell and Corey Anderson, but the former was run out backing up to end any realistic victory ambitions.

Having won the toss and opted to bat first, Sussex were quickly out of the blocks and kept the run rate high despite losing Phil Salt (13) and Laurie Evans (8) early, both to Jerome Taylor.

Wright proved harder to dislodge and looked in fine touch from the outset, striking each of Jamie Overton's first two deliveries of the match for six before later clearing the ropes off Gregory.

Max Waller had Delroy Rawlins caught behind for 18, but the smiles which greeted the spinner's forward roll celebration were the last seen on Somerset faces for some time as Wright and David Wiese went on the charge.

Wright moved to a 34-ball half-century during Overton's chaotic third over, which saw 20 runs come from the first two legal deliveries after it began with two wides, a six, four no-balls and a six from the free hit.

Overton's figures were left in tatters - his three overs ended up costing 50 - and when both Wright and Wiese delivered similar treatment to Gregory two overs later it became difficult to avoid the conclusion that these were match-defining overs.

As a result, Somerset were forced to alter the bowling formula which had been working so well in the competition. Corey Anderson came into the attack and removed Wright for 92 - the highest individual score in finals day history - and Somerset were able to apply a belated squeeze to the run rate thereafter.

Sussex added just nine runs in 2.4 overs following Wright's departure, as Taylor returned to remove both Michael Burgess (2) and Wiese for a destructive 29-ball 52; the West Indian's figures of 4-20 from four overs were a remarkable effort in the circumstances and perhaps showed the value of experience in pressure scenarios in big matches.

Somerset may have been relatively content in 'only' chasing 203 - 230 or 240 looked more likely for the majority of the innings - but they were quickly on the back foot in reply as three wickets fell inside five overs.

Steve Davies was first to go, caught at backward point from a leading edge for a single, and he ends the competition with an average of 15.21.

His fellow opener Johann Myburgh was determined to go out fighting in what would turn out to be his final professional innings, and gave a reminder of the pinch-hitting abilities Somerset will miss as he heaved Jofra Archer for a huge six over mid-wicket.

He fell for 22 later in the same over, however, chipping to Rawlins at cover to depart the arena for one last time.

Peter Trego (5) followed him back to leave Somerset 33-3, which was then 48-4 when James Hildreth (15) picked out Wiese at short third-man.

They say it is the hope that kills you, and for a while through the middle overs Tom Abell and Corey Anderson provided just that.

Abell was in superb form, displaying a mixture of invention (successive reverse-swept fours off Will Beer) and power (two slog-swept sixes against Danny Briggs) to just about keep his side in contention.

At the other end Anderson took longer to locate the middle of the bat but soon he too began to motor, smiting successive sixes off Wiese in the 13th over before sending Tymal Mills into the stands from the final ball of the 14th.

This left Somerset needing 72 off six overs with batting still to come, but Abell's career-best T20 knock of 48 was ended in unfortunate circumstances when Briggs got the slightest of touches to an Anderson straight drive and sent it clattering into the stumps with Abell out of his ground.

The in-form Lewis Gregory this time failed to fire, scoring seven in 14 balls before being cleaned up by a Chris Jordan yorker, as the Somerset innings petered out.

Jordan finished with 2-17 from his four, including a maiden in the 18th over of the innings, as the three-pronged pace attack of himself, Archer (3-32) and Mills (1-32) outbowled their Somerset counterparts.

Gregory admitted afterwards that "it's about who handles pressure the best and we didn't quite do that today", while insisting there are bright times ahead for Somerset in all formats.

He may well be proved right. Abell's innings today was evidence of his ability to become a genuine three-format player, while one poor over should not detract from the vast improvements Jamie Overton has made in T20 cricket this summer.

That said, however, the promise of jam tomorrow is one Somerset fans are becoming all too familiar with. This may not hurt as much as the final-ball heartache in the 2010 final or the fourth successive finals day failure in 2012, but to have played so well throughout thhe competition only to not turn up at the crunch stage will frustrate players and fans alike.