Somerset suffered their third Twenty20 defeat in four days as they were beaten in the last over by Warwickshire at Taunton yesterday. Somerset posted a meagre total of 131 – the first-innings average at Taunton is 189 – with only Marcus Trescothick batting with any fluency.
Trescothick, who hit 48 from 41 balls, seems so at ease in the shortest form of the game, having hit 155 runs in three games this season. Before the game he somewhat bizarrely refused to rule himself of the reckoning for England's Twenty20 bonanza in Antigua in November, even if his comments may well have been made with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
The 32-year-old, who has made himself unavailable for a return to international cricket since he withdrew from England's 2006/07 Ashes series in Australia, seems tempted by the increasingly lucrative nature of Twenty20 cricket.
Trescothick and Justin Langer (39) put on an opening partnership of 78 but always found it hard to get going due to a combination of an unusually slow Taunton pitch and some tidy bowling, from Ant Botha in particular.
It was the slow left-armer who started the Somerset collapse as he trapped Langer lbw, just as it seemed the Australian was getting into his stride with three boundaries off the previous over including a huge six over mid-wicket.
The South-African-born Botha then pulled off a stunning caught and bowled to dismiss James Hildreth, plucking out a full blooded drive one-handed.
This set the stage for Warwickshire's opening bowlers Chris Martin (2 for 23) and Chris Woakes (4 for 21) to return to devastating effect. Martin, left out of New Zealand's one-day squad, bowled Ian Blackwell and Trescothick in his first over back.
Woakes, just 19, went one better and got three wickets in his comeback over as Somerset lost their last six wickets for just 14 runs.
Woakes, playing just his third Twenty20 Cup game, gave a veritable masterclass, bowling full and straight and varying his pace to great effect. He could have had five wickets had Jonathan Trott not dropped a regulation catch at mid-on while Trescothick was on just 11.
In reply, Warwickshire got off to a flying start thanks to Neil Carter, who latched on to anything short or wide as he hit five fours and a six on his way to 31 in just 20 balls before being bowled by Mark Turner.
Jim Troughton (33) and Ian Westwood (32 not out) then batted sensibly when faced with some tidy bowling from the impressive Alfonso Thomas and Blackwell, showing once again that slow bowling can be vital in 20-over cricket.
Troughton gave Somerset a sniff as he gave his wicket away trying to hit a full-length delivery from Anul Suppiah out of the ground. Westwood however guided Warwickshire to victory in the final over, just 24 hours after he had hit a boundary off the last ball to earn his side a tie against Gloucestershire.
England hopeful Michael Carberry hit 57 for Hampshire as they inflicted champions Kent's first defeat of this season's Twenty20 Cup. Kent never looked like challenging Hampshire's total of 197, despite Joe Denly (63) matching his highest score in this form of the game.
Nottinghamshire won their second game in as many days as they beat Durham at Trent Bridge. Samit Patel, 23, starred, hitting the only half-century of the game.