Magnificant Mahela fires Somerset to semi-final

Mahela Jayawardene led the way as Somerset reached the semi-final of the Royal London One-Day Cup with a nine-wicket win over Worcestershire.

Magnificant Mahela fires Somerset to semi-final
Jayawardene gave Taunton the perfect parting gift. (Photo: GettyImages)

Mahela Jayawardene’s first Somerset century gave the West Country side a nine-wicket win over Worcestershire at Taunton in their Royal London One Day Cup quarter-final.

Jayawardene’s unbeaten 117 in his final Somerset game led the way whilst Jim Allenby struck 81 after Peter Trego had taken 3-33.

Trego took the crucial wickets of Ali and Mitchell.  (Photo: GettyImages)

Visitors dismissed for 210 despite Moeen's 81

The returning Moeen Ali hit 81 for Worcestershire and Darryl Mitchell scored 64, but the visitors were bowled out for just 210.

Captain Mitchell won the toss and opted to bat in front of the Sky Cameras, but Tom Kohler-Cadmore couldn’t get Somerset’s openers Craig Overton and Josh Davey away and was eventually caught by a brilliant Jayawardene catch at slip for two off Overton.

Davey was keeping things tight at the other end and took two wickets in the final over of the first powerplay when Tom Fell cut straight to Tom Abell at point and Joe Clarke flicked to Roelof van der Merwe, leaving Somerset on top at 43-3 after ten overs.

That brought Mitchell to the crease alongside Ali, who was going well on his return from a test century at The Oval against Pakistan.

He and Mitchell rebuilt the innings and saw off the two Somerset seamers, as Somerset’s leading wicket-taker Lewis Gregory couldn’t get the fourth breakthrough, neither could van der Merwe or Max Waller.

Somerset were forced to go on the defence as the pair put on 113 in just 20 overs, but with Ali looking set for another century, he skied the medium pace of Trego to Waller in the deep to fall for 81 from just 76 balls, with 10 fours and a six.

Mitchell was ticking along at the other end, hitting just three boundaries in his half-century, but Trego saw the back of him as well when he miscued to Davey at mid off, who took a smart catch.

Mitchell had gone for a steady 64 from 81 balls, but the winners of the south group smelt blood.

Trego was at it again when Ross Whiteley was caught behind for a second-ball duck and Ben Cox could only last the same amount of time as Gregory got his only wicket of the afternoon.

Worcestershire were in danger of making less than 200 at 177-7, but Brett D’Oliveira and Joe Leach did their best to get Worcestershire to a competitive score until they both went in the space of six balls.

Overton had his second when D’Oliveira was caught by Davey for 21 and six balls later Leach was run out by van der Merwe for 20.

Spinner van der Merwe duly finished the job by trapping Jack Shantry in front and Worcestershire were all out in just 42.5 overs for 210, as Davey had 2-28 and Overton 2-29, but Trego’s 3-33 in eight overs was undoubtedly the standout figures.

Jayawardene and Allenby share century stand as Somerset stroll to victory

Elder statesman Jayawardene and Somerset captain Allenby raced to 30 off the first six overs and the fifty partnership came up inside nine overs as Somerset were cruising in the opening powerplay.

Allenby was leading the charge until the Sri Lankan skipped down the flat Taunton track and launched D’Oliveira over long-on for a maximum before he reached a run-a-ball half-century.

Allenby wasn’t far behind and went to 50 from 70 balls which took Somerset to 124-0 from 23 overs.

It was Somerset’s game to lose at that point and the hosts hammered home their advantage to bring up 150-0.

It may have been a different team and format for Ali, but it was a familiar feeling for the off-spinner as Allenby dispatched him into the stands, shortly before Jayawardene brought up his century with a leg side clip.

Ali did make the breakthrough late in the piece as Allenby holed out to Fell on the square leg boundary, but it was too little too late as Jayawardene and Trego saw Somerset home.

Trego hit an unbeaten ten, but 39-year-old Jayawardene finished on 117 from just 111 balls with 14 fours and two sixes, whilst Ali’s figures read ten overs 1-53 as Somerset strolled to victory with 79 balls remaining.