Belligerent Gayle helps Somerset claim Blast victory over Essex

Somerset successfully chased 179 against Essex at Taunton to bag their first T20 Blast win of the season

Belligerent Gayle helps Somerset claim Blast victory over Essex
Chris Gayle smashed 49 in Somerset's T20 Blast victory over Essex at Taunton (image via: getty)

Somerset secured their first victory in this season's T20 Blast competition, after beating Essex by seven wickets at Taunton.

Having seen Essex make 178 from their 20 overs, the Somerset top-three made the bulk of the runs in the successful chase, which saw the hosts claim the win with 13 deliveries remaining. 

Chris Gayle made a successful return to the County Ground, thrilling the crowd with 49 runs from 23 balls, in an innings which included four maximums. 

Following a tough opening week in the competition for Somerset which had seen two defeats, Lewis Gregory stepped up for the Cidermen, claiming figures of 2-25, before making an unbeaten 37. 

Lewis Gregory claimed figures of 2-25 in the Essex innings (image via: Getty)

Powerplay wickets stymie Essex after being inserted

Having been sent in to bat first by opposition skipper Jim Allenby, Essex were well placed to set a big total after five over of the innings, finding themselves 51-1. 

The early wicket was that of Jesse Ryder, who was caught behind by Ryan Davies off Craig Overton for seven in the third over. 

Ryder's fellow opener Daniel Lawrence made 22 before he was caught well by Max Waller at backward point off Lewis Gregory's first delivery. Lawrence had shared in a solid 34-run partnership with Tom Westley who was finding the boundary well while the fielding restrictions were in play. 

With the powerplay ending with Essex on 54-2, both teams will have been happy with their efforts, but it was soon Somerset who were on top in the contest, with the visiting captain Ravi Bopara dismissed for eight from 15 deliveries by Waller, leaving the score on 70-3 at the midway point of the innings. 

Zaidi and Ten Doeschate smash Essex to 178

Much of the final ten overs was dominated by an impressive partnership of 74 between Ryan Ten Doeschate and Ashar Zaidi in six overs, following the dismissal of Westley for 40. 

Zaidi started the big hitting, striking the first two sixes of the innings, both ending up well over the long-on boundary to give the innings some impetus. 

Ryan Ten Doeschate top scored for Essex with 47 (image via: ecb.co.uk)

It was then over to Ten Doeschate who took up much of the strike in the closing overs, with the Dutch international top scoring with 47, which included one six and five boundaries. 

The penultimate over was full of incident, with boundaries and extras, then followed by the wickets of Zaidi and Ten Doeschate. Jamie Overton was the man delivering the ball, and what looked like a poor over ended up with the two set batsman both holing out, as Essex ended their innings on 178-7 which looked around par. 

Gayle takes Masters to the cleaners, as Somerset make hasty start to their chase

Having struggled in his first innings back at Somerset during the week, making just five before being castled by Tymal Mills in the defeat to Sussex, big things were expected of Gayle on his return to Taunton. 

The big West Indian opener started in his usual circumspect manor, before coming to life in the fourth over which was bowled by David Masters. A sequence of four, six, four, six, six followed by a pair of wides saw the Masters over go for 28 and gave Somerset all the impetus in the start to their reply. 

The six over powerplay ended with the home side on 69-0, and included nine runs coming from wides in a poor bowling effort from Essex early on. 

Following a tight over from Bopara, the biggest of big wickets came in unspectacular fashion, with Gayle playing a weak drive which ballooned in the air to Lawrence, giving Wahab Riaz his first wicket of the innings, and seeing the opener dismissed for 49 from 23 deliveries, in an innings which included four maximums. 

Trego and Gregory go big as Somerset ease to victory

Peter Trego took over the big-hitting mantle from Gayle, and kept Somerset ahead of the rate with 34 from 16 deliveries before departing off the bowling of Zaidi. 

Trego scored the majority of the runs in the second-wicket partnership of 47 alongside Allenby, hitting five fours and one massive six, before trying to repeat the trick only to find Lawrence on the long-on boundary. 

Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardena came and went for six to leave Somerset 129-3, before Gregory came to the crease and took the game away from Essex. 

The all-rounder hit five boundaries in his unbeaten innings of 37, finishing off the match alongside Allenby who batted the entire innings for the same score, which saw Somerset home by seven wickets in the 18th over.