Last year Somerset finished second in everything but that experience doesn't appear to have left any long-term scars. The West Country side, well-placed in the Championship after the first half of the season, have been piling on the runs in the Friends Provident t20 after an opening defeat to last year's winners, Hampshire.
Having beaten Kent comfortably on Friday, they amassed 235 for 5 against Middlesex yesterday at Taunton. It proved far too much for the Londoners, who went down by 40 runs.
Somerset enjoyed decent contributions from almost all of their top order, England's Craig Kieswetter top-scoring with 59. The South African-born cricketer – injured for Somerset's first two games – has been in superb limited-overs form this season after a difficult 2010 (the t20 World Cup notwithstanding) and he massacred a strong-looking Middlesex attack, scoring his runs off just 22 balls.
Also in the southern group – from where the last four winners have come – Sussex, the 2009 champions, strolled to victory over Gloucestershire. An impressive bowling effort, led by Monty Panesar, who took 3 for 14, restricted the Gladiators to 97 from their 17 overs before Sussex reached their target for the loss of three wickets.
Lancashire's momentum in the Championship may have been halted by a hefty defeat to Durham but they will be pleased with their t20 form thus far (three games, two wins), particularly after a five-wicket win over Leicestershire yesterday. Liverpool-born Tom Smith played the decisive hand with an innings of 75 on a day when local talent shone: Leicestershire's top scorer, with 60, was Leicester lad Josh Cobb.
Lancastrian delight can only have been increased by Yorkshire's continuing travails. The Headingley side lost their second game yesterday, tumbling to a 53-run defeat to Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Samit Patel, whose weight problems are well publicised but who is a fine cricketer nonetheless, shone with bat and ball for the hosts, hitting 52 and taking 2 for 27 from his four overs.
Yorkshire's effort was pretty tame in comparison with only Adam Lyth threatening to hurt Notts, hitting 43 before he was out off the bowling of the former Essex man Andy Carter.
It has been a chastening season for the Tykes after their title challenge lasted into the final day of last season. Third from bottom in the First Division of the Championship (having played more games than the teams below them), they may have been hoping for some respite in Twenty20. No luck so far.
Still, they probably enjoyed themselves rather more yesterday than a couple of Kent bowlers. After the game at Tunbridge Wells was reduced to a five-over slog, Hampshire began sedately, moving to 11 for 0 off two overs. Then the carnage began.
Simon Cook was the first bowler to suffer, going for 28 from his over before 18-year-old Adam Ball was hit for the same in his solitary over. In all, the Hampshire pair of Michael Lumb – Kiewsetter's opening partner in the t20 World Cup last year – and Jimmy Adams hit eight sixes in nine balls. At least Ball had the last laugh, bowling Lumb with his final ball. It wasn't enough to save Kent: they scored just 58 for 2 in reply to Hampshire's 78 for 1.
Friends Life t20 - North Division, Grace Road: Leicestershire: 173-2 (J J Cobb 60, A B McDonald 54no) (20.0 overs), Lancashire: 175-5 (T C Smith 75) (18.1 overs). Lancashire (2pts) beat Leicestershire by 5 wickets.
Friends Life t20 - North Division, Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire: 215-6 (A C Voges 74, S R Patel 52) (20.0 overs), Yorkshire: 162-8 (20.0 overs). Nottinghamshire (2pts) beat Yorkshire by 53 runs.
Friends Life t20 - North Division, Edgbaston: Northamptonshire: 150-8 (20.0 overs), Warwickshire: 110 (J Botha 4-16) (17.3 overs). Northamptonshire (2pts) beat Warwickshire by 40 runs.
Friends Life t20 - North Division, New Road: Worcestershire v Durham. Match abandoned, no result 1pt each
Friends Life t20 - South Division, Bristol: Gloucestershire: 97-9 (17.0 overs) Sussex: 98-3 (14.3 overs). Sussex (2pts) beat Gloucestershire by 7 wickets.
Friends Life t20 - South Division, Tunbridge Wells: Hampshire: 78-1 (5.0 overs), Kent: 58-2 (5.0 overs). Hampshire (2pts) beat Kent by 20 runs.
Friends Life t20 - South Division, Taunton: Somerset: 235-5 (C Kieswetter 59, R E van der Merwe 51) (20.0 overs), Middlesex: 195-9 (J A Simpson 60no) (20.0 overs). Somerset (2pts) beat Middlesex by 40 runs.
International Twenty20 Series, Trinidad: India: 159-6 (D J G Sammy 4-16) (20.0 overs) West Indies: 143-5 (20.0 overs). India beat West Indies (2pts) by 16 runs.