Dean Elgar returns to Somerset’s team for what could prove a pivotal weekend in their bid to win the NatWest T20 Blast.
Back-to-back South Group home games against Kent tomorrow (Sat) and Glamorgan on Sunday offer an opportunity to seal a top four finish and a place in the quarter-finals.
Elgar, who averaged 103 in six Royal London Cup innings for Somerset this season, has since been away with the South African Test squad.
His return is timely, particularly as Somerset are still waiting for new overseas signing Fakhar Zaman to obtain a visa and fly to England from Pakistan.
Director of cricket Matthew Maynard said: “If we can win two of our last four group matches we will qualify, while three victories would mean a home quarter-final.
“Virtually every team in the group can still get through so every match is like a cup final from now on.
“It’s a tough weekend for us, but one we are really looking forward to. We have Dean Elgar back and we have tickets booked for a couple of flights should Fakhar Zaman’s visa come through.
“We have actually signed Fakhar more for Championship cricket. Under the rules of the NatWest Blast, he will need to play in at least one group match for us to be eligible for the knock-out stages.”
James Hildreth had to leave the field on the final day of the drawn Championship game with Surrey at Taunton because of a quad muscle injury and may struggle to face Kent.
Elgar will bat in the middle order where he was so successful in the 50-over competition and Maynard is demanding a fearless approach from his batsmen over the two weekend matches.
“Being ultra positive is what has put us in a strong position in the group and we have to continue in that manner,” he said.
“If that means we are bowled out for 80 in one game so be it. In another we will probably get 200-plus.
“We have been flexible with our batting line-up and that will continue.”
Taunton has been a fortress for Somerset in the NatWest Blast, with four wins and a no result from five home fixtures.
The match against Glamorgan on Sunday begins at 2.30pm.