|Vitality Blast quarter-final, Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton|
|Lancashire Lightning 184-9 (20 overs): Vilas 42, Jones 38*; Van der Merwe 4-27, De Lange 3-41|
|Somerset 185-3 (18.2 overs): Abell 78*, Lammonby 47* Smeed 44; Lamb 2-24|
|Somerset beat Lancashire Lightning by seven wickets|
Tom Abell’s unbeaten 78 saw Somerset beat Lancashire Lightning by seven wickets to reach T20 Blast Finals Day.
The hosts chased a target of 185 with 10 balls to spare as Tom Lammonby (47 not out) and Will Smeed (44) also made impressive contributions.
Lancashire’s 184-9 proved to be an under-par effort after they made a fast start in the powerplay.
Roelof van der Merwe (4-27) took crucial wickets at the top of the order despite 42 from Dane Vilas.
Somerset will join fellow South Group qualifiers Sussex Sharks and Hampshire Hawks at Finals Day on Saturday, 18 September at Edgbaston.
Either Kent Spitfires or Birmingham Bears will join them after the last quarter-final tie on Friday.
Tom proves more than Abell
One-time T20 winners Somerset will now hope to chase two trophies in September as they also go in search of a first County Championship title when the second phase of that competition begins on Monday.
Their red-ball skipper Abell showed his class against the white ball in front of a boisterous Taunton crowd as he smashed three sixes and seven fours in his 45-ball knock.
He and talented left-hander Lammonby added an unbeaten 102 for the fourth wicket despite needing more than 10-an-over for the last 10 overs when they came together.
Lammonby struggled initially to impose himself on the Lancashire bowlers as Abell played the lead hand in their partnership, but come the closing overs, he was also able to strike two fours and three sixes as Somerset cruised home.
Livingstone’s fireworks extinguished by Van der Merwe
Lancashire were put in after losing the toss at Taunton, but seemed unnerved as they lined up with a number of returning stars from The Hundred.
Chief among them was opener Liam Livingstone, who has already enjoyed a stellar summer in both England and Birmingham Phoenix colours.
He started off the Lancashire innings in similar blistering style, hitting three sixes in his first 10 balls, but the introduction of Roelof van der Merwe for Somerset stopped him in his tracks.
The Netherlands international took a sharp reflex catch off his own bowling to dismiss Livingstone for 25 and he also had Alex Davies leg-before without scoring three balls later.
Van der Merwe finished with 4-27 as he dismissed the first four Lancashire batsmen and Lammonby’s part-time medium pace backed up by Marchant de Lange (3-41) and his skills in the death overs, Lightning were restricted to well under 200.
Smeed continues fine summer
Somerset appeared to be in a trouble early in the chase when Tom Banton and James Hildreth were both bowled trying ambitious shots early on to reduce them to 12-2.
But another name who made headlines in The Hundred, Will Smeed, returned to his county colours to play a vital hand.
The right-hander muscled four fours and two sixes in his 33-ball 44 to wrestle the momentum back for the hosts.
Lancashire by contrast were arguably hampered by absences from their squad.
England leg-spinner Matt Parkinson is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, fast bowler Saqib Mahmood was unavailable due to being classed a Covid-19/concussion substitute for England against India in the ongoing third Test match, and batsman Keaton Jennings (calf) and seamer Luke Wood (side) were both sidelined through injury.
Somerset batsman Tom Abell told BBC Radio Bristol:
“An incredibly special night. The atmosphere was unbelievable.
“I thought in the first half we were outstanding, it was a great effort to restrict them to 184.
“We made a slow start with the bat, but with the short boundary, we always felt that one big over would change the game. Will (Smeed) and Tom (Lammonby) took the pressure off really well with how they struck it.
“I was intent on making sure we saw the game through and it’s an unbelievable feeling, I can’t really explain it.”
Lancashire captain Dane Vilas told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“It’s disappointing. I thought we had a really good chance tonight going into the game.
“We thought we had a massive opportunity to come here and produce a win, but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I think we were a little bit under par with the total. The way we began we were targeting 200 and above and it’s a shame we couldn’t finish as well, as we started losing too many wickets at the back end of our innings.
“I think we played well tonight, but obviously not well enough.”