A handsome return of 4-20 by Andrew Salter, an unbeaten 51 by Chris Cooke plus some excellent ground fielding saw Glamorgan to a 15-run victory over Gloucestershire in their Vitality Blast T20 game at Bristol (writes Andrew Hignell).
Dan Douthwaite and Billy Root began Glamorgan’s innings as they looked to preserve their unbeaten record at the Bristol ground in the short format since 2010 with Root nurdling the second ball from David Payne to third man for four. But with the total on 10, Douthwaite was l.b.w. to Matt Taylor with his departure heralding the arrival of Andrew Balbirnie, the Ireland captain who has played previously in the competition for Middlesex having been deprived by the rain on Thursday evening of a home debut at Sophia Gardens.
Balbirnie began with a square-drive for four against Payne whilst Root also cover-drove Taylor for four. Balbirnie also drove Taylor for six over extra cover but in Ryan Higgins’ opening over he scooped a full toss to short fine-leg where Taylor completed the catch. Chris Cooke joined Root as the Welsh county ended the powerplay on 40-2 with left-arm spinners Tom Smith then entering the attack at the Pavilion End with Graeme van Buuren at the Ashley Down End.
On 5 Cooke survived a chance at long-on as Iain Cockbain failed to grasp a lofted drive against van Buuren before sweeping Smith for four to square-leg. Root then reverse-swept van Buuren for four before, with the total on 65, being caught at short third man by Payne as he attempted to repeat the stroke. Marchant de Lange then made his way to the middle looking to raise the tempo with his side on 65-3 at the halfway stage. He duly bludgeoned a ball from Smith for four to mid-wicket before being bowled next delivery.
Having been joined by Kiran Carlson, Cooke harpooned Smith for six before surviving a run out chance. But next ball Carlson went down the wicket to the spinner and was stumped by James Bracey. Callum Taylor replaced him in the middle and outside-edged Higgins for four before swatting Payne for four to mid-wicket to bring up the 100 in the 16th over. Cooke then drilled Payne over long-on for six before Taylor swatted his namesake over backward point for four.
Cooke also found the ropes as he drilled Higgins over cover for four before the bowler bowled Taylor for an enterprising 23. 131-6 saw the arrival of Graham Wagg but he and his captain could only accumulate in singles until Cooke swatted a no-ball for two to complete his half-century from 34 balls. Wagg then improvised with a leg-side four before losing his leg stump off the final ball of the innings as Glamorgan ended their quota on 150-7.
It was an all-spin opening attack as Prem Sisodiya bowled the first over and began with a maiden before Andrew Salter bowled Chris Dent with his first delivery of the summer as the opening batsman attempted a sweep. Miles Hammond ended the sequence of dot balls by clubbing Sisodiya to square-leg for four before driving Sisodiya low to cover where Kiran Carlson took a smart catch. Ryan Higgins then square-cut Salter for four but it became 12-3 as Iain Cockbain lofted Salter straight to Balbirnie at deep mid-wicket.
James Bracey then off-drove Timm van der Gugten’s first delivery for four as the West Country side ended the powerplay on 24-3. But it 29-4 as Salter returned and trapped Higgins l.b.w. before Callum Taylor became the third spinner to appear. However, it was Salter who struck again as Bracey swatted a full toss high to Root at square-leg as the home side slipped further to 40-5. George Scott then nurdled a four and on-drove Salter for three before the swing and pace of Wagg and de Lange entered the fray as the target before 93 from 48 balls.
Scott clubbed de Lange over extra cover for four but the bowler atoned as Jack Taylor flayed at a delivery from de Lange and edged into Cooke’s gloves. Van Burren began with an outside-edge for four but 81 were still needed from 36 balls prompting Scott o loft de Lange over long-on for six before swatting the next ball to square-leg for four. The pair then sprinted a series of two’s before Callum Taylor returned and had Scott caught by Wagg at long-on.
With the total on 92-7 an Buuren responded by lofting Taylor for successive straight sixes as the equation became 46 needed from the last 18 balls. But thoughts of a repeat of the dramatic end to last year’s tied game at Cardiff appeared to have been extinguished as van der Gugten had Matt Taylor caught by a diving Cooke but van Buuren defiantly flayed Wagg for four over cover before pulling him for six and a pair of fours from successive deliveries to leave Gloucestershire needing 21 from the last over from van der Gugten.
Van Buuren could also strike a single from the first ball to complete his fifty before scampering a bye. He clipped a two to mid-wicket before being run out by Callum Taylor trying to attempt a second run to long-off. Van der Gugten then bowled David Payne with the last ball of the contest as Glamorgan clinched a 15-run victory.