Reigning Vitality Blast champions Hampshire Hawks are thrashed in season-opener at Somerset

Somerset's Craig Overton of Somerset celebrates the wicket of Hampshire's Ben McDermott. Picture by Harry Trump/Getty ImagesSomerset's Craig Overton of Somerset celebrates the wicket of Hampshire's Ben McDermott. Picture by Harry Trump/Getty Images
Somerset's Craig Overton of Somerset celebrates the wicket of Hampshire's Ben McDermott. Picture by Harry Trump/Getty Images
Revenge was sweet for Somerset as seamers Craig Overton and Matt Henry led them to a crushing eight-wicket Vitality Blast victory over reigning champions Hampshire Hawks at sun-drenched Taunton.

Beaten in last season’s semi-finals by the same opponents, the hosts dominated from the start after winning the toss, Overton claiming 3-8 from four overs and Henry 2-19 from three to leave the Hawks 27-5.

The Blast title holders never recovered and were bowled out for 74, their lowest ever T20 total, in 16.1 overs, Ben Green taking 3-11 and Lewis Gregory 2-13, while Overton added four catches to his heroics with the ball.

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It was a ruthless display by the Somerset seamers, backed by some razor-sharp fielding. In reply, the hosts breezed to 74-2 off just 9.3 overs, Tom Banton smiting 40 off 24 balls.

Overton and Henry appeared to be trying to outshine each other when the Hawks innings began in front of a packed crowd, both maintaining excellent line and length.

Ben McDermott fell to the last ball of Overton’s opening over, caught two-handed to his left by Tom Kohler-Cadmore at slip.

It was 9-2 when Henry struck with his first delivery, bowling James Vince between bat and pad with a ball that nipped back. The New Zealand Test bowler then had Joe Weatherly caught at mid-on by Overton off a skyer to make it 12-3 in the fourth over.

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By the end of the six-over powerplay, the Hawks were in disarray at 26-3 and their plight worsened when Overton had Tom Priest caught behind attempting to pull a short ball.

Overton notched his third victim in the same over as Toby Albert was also snaffled by wicketkeeper Banton, going hard at a wide delivery.

Albert had scooped a six off Henry, but it was a rare moment of defiance from the Hawks as Overton produced 17 dot balls in bowling his allotted four overs straight through from the River End

Rightly impressed by his opening attack, Somerset skipper Tom Abell did not make a change until the eighth over, which saw Peter Siddle replace Henry.

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Ross Whiteley hit fours off successive balls from Gregory and Liam Dawson pulled a a six off Green as Hampshire briefly threatened a recovery.

But, having helped take the score to 57, Dawson fell to another Overton catch, this time at fine leg off a scoop, and Scott Currie went in the same Gregory over, the 12th, bowled off a bottom edged pull shot.

Whiteley had reached his side’s top score of 18 when caught by Kohler-Cadmore, diving forward at long-off, having made decent contact with a Green full toss.

At 61-8, the Hawks were down and out. Chris Wood was pouched by the diving Overton at mid-off off Green, who completed the rout by having Nathan Ellis, who had taken 13 off Henry’s final over, caught at long-on by the same fielder.

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Somerset’s big-hitting batting line-up were never likely to be troubled chasing such a paltry total and Banton soon signalled his intentions to end the match early by clearing the ropes with a ramp shot off Wood in the third over.

A scoop off Ellis brought the England T20 international another boundary, followed up next ball by a clip through the leg side for four. Will Smeed was caught at short third man for five in the same over, but by the end of their power play, Somerset were comfortable at 37-1.

Banton launched another six over mid-wicket off Dawson before being stumped in the same over chasing a wide one. Kohler-Cadmore (18 not out) got off the mark by smashing the spinner over wide long-on for a maximum and by then the outcome had long been beyond doubt.