Nerveless Thomas puts Somerset through: T20 finals day: Paul Bolton

Friends Life t20 Finals Day, Edgbaston

2nd  semi-final: Somerset (94-6) beat Hampshire (138-4) in super over after scores were level

Super overs are clearly like buses: you wait ages for one and then two come along at once.

It seemed impossible for Hampshire and Somerset to match the drama of the opening semi-final but they managed it with another shoot-out after the day’s second tie.

This time Somerset seamer Alfonso Thomas kept his composure by starting his ‘super over’ with two dot balls and then having Shahid Afridi taken at deep midwicket to help avenge defeat by Hampshire in last season’s final.

Hampshire managed only five runs in Thomas’s over but Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler took 16 from the over Afridi bowled, including three boundaries.

It ended as another thriller but rain again blighted an intriguing contest which finished with the scores level at the end of the ‘normal’ match.

Somerset lost their nerve in sight of victory but Hampshire’s captain Dominic Cork held his. Jos Buttler clobbered 32 from just 16 balls to take Somerset into the final over needing just five runs to reach a revised target of 95 from ten overs.

But Buttler picked out James Vince at long off when Somerset needed only two runs from three balls which gave Cork the chance to apply the pressure.

Arul Suppiah found himself on strike for the final ball needing to scramble a single to avoid the final eliminator. Cork surrounded Suppiah with close catchers, including a short leg, and Suppiah managed only to push the ball to Vince at mid off who ran in to run him out at the bowler’s end.

Until his sloppy dismissal, Buttler demonstrated why England have named him in their squad for Wednesday’s T20 international against India at Old Trafford.

He appeared a surprise inclusion in the squad having been dropped from Somerset’s County Championship side in mid-season for a lack of runs. Buttler has also made only two T20 fifties in his career but one of them came in last season’s semi-final against a strong Nottinghamshire attack.

Buttler again suggested he has a big match temperament by steadying Somerset after Imran Tahir had snared Kieron Pollard, who drove to long off, and Marcus Trescothick, who top edged a sweep to short fine leg, from successive balls.

Buttler responded by straight driving Danny Briggs for six in the next over and then lofting Tahir for two huge sixes over long on in the leg-spinner’s next over.

Defeat was particularly hard on Afridi who had done so much to put Hampshire in a strong position between two breaks for rain.

He made 80 from just 42 balls, including five sixes, before he was bowled in the final over driving all round a full length ball from Thomas.

Shot of the match: The second of Jos Buttler’s two sixes over long on off Imran Tahir

Over of the match: Alfonso Thomas’s nerveless ‘Super Over’ in which he conceded just five runs

Touching moment: Hampshire captain Dominic Cork looking heavenwards before he bowled the final over of the normal match. Cork’s father Gerald died two weeks ago and Hampshire players wore black armbands as a mark of respect

*Paul Bolton covers Midlands county cricket for thecricketer.com

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