Somerset secured their first victory in the championship in 18 years by defeating Essex by 14 runs in the 2023 T20 Vitality Blasts. They last won the championship in 2005. Somerset won after defending modest totals of 142-7 against Surrey in the second semi-final and 145 all out in the final. Thanks to an exceptional bowling performance by New Zealand speedster Matt Henry.
Essex may refer to Matt Critchley’s caught and bowled during Somerset’s innings, which was ruled out by the TV umpire, as a turning point in the game. But, like Surrey earlier in the day, their batters were unable to deliver when presented with what appeared to be a modest goal.
Kiwi duo shines in final
Henry got 4-24 in the final, including the critical last wicket of Daniel Sams (45 off 26 balls), however, he owed a lot to Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who clinched victory with a superb diving catch at backward point. Ish Sodhi (3-22) also contributed three crucial wickets, while skipper Lewis Gregory (2-25) grabbed two. Essex, who smashed 27 off the opening two overs, then experienced a massive top-order collapse, falling for five for 28.
Daniel Sams, on the other hand, ensured that the match went to the end. With Essex requiring 21 runs off 12 balls and one wicket in hand, Sams smashed Henry for a six off the first ball of the 19th over to reduce the equation to 15 runs off 11. To dismiss Sams and give Somerset its first title in 18 years, Tom Cohler-Cadmore made a sensational one-handed grab diving to his left at short third-man.
Earlier, after being inserted by Essex, Somerset used Sean Dickson’s 35-ball 53 to post a solid 145 in 20 overs. Essex’s bowlers of choice were Shane Snater and Paul Walter, who both took three wickets as Somerset lost wickets at regular intervals.
Essex got off to a dreadful start, losing five wickets for 55 runs in the opening eight overs. Sams battled valiantly with a 26-ball 45, but it wasn’t enough for his team to win the final.
Somerset captain Lewis Gregory stated after the win, “[It feels] pretty damn good, I’ve been to Finals Day many, many times, and this is a special feeling to get over the line tonight.”
Here’s how fans reacted:
Now it’s our turn to win the Sky Bet Championship. 😉
— Tom (@TomMGorvin) July 16, 2023
Gutted with the Surrey result 🤦🏻
— ChrisCFC20 (@ChrisCFC1990) July 15, 2023
Deserve to lift the trophy 🏆.. after so many many finals day loss ..A fan from India unfortunately not English
— Rakshith Casey (@rakshithcasey) July 15, 2023
NZ players ruled today
— Archer (@poserarcher) July 15, 2023
They held their nerve! #T20FinalsDay
— FlowerPowerGardening (@TauntonGardener) July 15, 2023
Yesssssssssssssssssssssss what a performance today, & all season – the best ever team to play #Blast23 cricket 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
🏆#WeAreSomerset & we are winners!!!
— Jon Hayes (@jonboy_avfc) July 15, 2023
Deserved winners. Thought Sams was gunna bring out his inner Stokes there but an unreal catch to win it 👏🏻
— Dave Feakins (@D_Feakins) July 15, 2023
Stunning catch and what a fitting way to cap off a brilliant T20 season. Bottle in abundance. The landlords in Taunton will be happy tonight.
— Aidan Gamble (@Aidan_Gamble) July 15, 2023