Somerset beat Glamorgan by 66 runs after Babar Azam struck a career-best 114 from 62 balls in their Vitality Blast T20 match at Sophia Gardens. (writes Andrew Hignell)
With the Welsh county fielding an unchanged team, it was the usual spin combination of Prem Sisodiya and Andrew Salter who opened the bowling as Babar Azam and Steve Davies began Somerset’s innings. The pair began with a brace of singles before Davies straight-drove Salter for four and Babar pulled the off-spinner for six. But Sisodiya removed Davies with his seventh delivery as Chris Cooke completed a regulation stumping, with Will Smeed joining the Pakistani. However, his stay was only a brief one as next over he miscued Ruaidhri Smith to Marchant de Lange at mid-on.
With Tom Abell as his new partner, Babar pulled Smith for four having also survived a sharp chance at point, before miscuing Timm van der Gugten just over the head of extra-cover. The pair scampered some singles before Babar straight drove and hooked de Lange for fours before leg-glancing Salter to the ropes Abell then pulled van der Gugten for four before holing out to the Dutchman at long-off as he tried to plonk Salter into the seats at the Cathedral Road End.
Debutant Lewis Goldsworthy started with some singles before Babar completed his fifty from 34 balls by cover-driving Salter before lofting him over long-on for six. He then late cut Sisodiya for four to see Somerset to the hundred mark in the 13th over. On 67 he was dropped at third man as he upper-cut de Lange before straight-driving Sisodiya for another four, followed by a flat-batted straight six against Smith.
Babar then flicked de Lange over fine-leg for another maximum before Goldsworthy survived a chance at deep backward square-leg. He celebrated his good fortune by on-driving Smith for four before Babar added another cover driven four. Goldsworthy then cut van der Gugten for four before Babar repeated the stroke to reach his century from 57 balls. Goldsworthy drove de Lange for four in the final over as the pair reached their century stand from 61 balls with Babar also drilling the last ball for six to end unbeaten on 114 – his best t20 score and the second highest against Glamorgan in the competition.
Chasing 184 to win, David Lloyd and Chris Cooke each departed in the second over, bowled by Roelof van der Merwe as George Bartlett, the substitute fielder, took a pair of catches at point with Glamorgan on 3-2. Selman then cut and off-drove van der Merwe before thick-edging Waller to the ropes at third man. Callum Taylor also square-drove Waller for four before Selman scooped Craig Overton to fine-leg. But he perished repeating the stroke next ball as Abell completed the catch with the Welsh county on 32-3.
Taylor responded by on-driving Overton for six but then miscued Ollie Sale to mid-wicket. 44-4 then became 47-5 as Balbirnie edged Goldsworthy to slip. Salter responded by straight-driving Sale for four and six but miscued the head-banded bowler to mid-off as Smith joined Morgan with Glamorgan 62-6 at the halfway stage. But two runs later Smith swept Goldsworthy to deep square-leg.
Morgan responded with a pair of straight drives before hoisting Overton for a massive six over mid-wicket. He followed this will a pull and leg-glance against Overton but next over he was bowled by Waller attempting to cut the leg-spinner. De Lange then struck a couple of defiant leg-side fours before van der Gugten drove van der Merwe for four as the task became 73 from 30 balls. De Lange then edged Overton for four to third man before smearing another drive into the hands of the fielder in that position, with Overtonn then ending the contest as van der Gugten was caught next ball at mid-off as Somerset won by 66 runs with 25 balls to spare.