A VICTORY at Warwickshire now stands between Somerset and a place in this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup showpiece at Lord’s after both teams won their respective quarter-final ties this afternoon.
Somerset got through with a crushing nine-wicket victory over Worcestershire at the Cooper Associates County Ground, while Warwickshire beat Essex by 70 runs to book their last four spot.
Warwickshire and Somerset will now meet at Edgbaston, with a firm date for the fixture to be announced in due course.
Mahela Jayawardene hit his first century for Somerset to help the hosts cruise into the last four.
A one-sided contest saw the visitors bowled out for a meagre 210, with only Moeen Ali (81) and Daryl Mitchell (64) making any impression.
Both fell to Peter Trego (three for 33) and there were two wickets each for Craig Overton and Josh Davey. Under no pressure to score quickly, Jayawadene (117 not out) and Jim Allenby (81) replied with an opening stand of 188 in 33.1 overs, guiding the hosts towards victory with more than 13 overs to spare.
It was Jayawardene’s first hundred for Somerset, his previous best score since joining the county for the NatWest T20 Blast being 55.
The former Sri Lanka Captain hit 14 fours and two sixes in a batting masterclass.
Allenby gave solid support, hitting 10 fours and a six in his 96-ball innings, as no Worcestershire bowler could find any penetration on the used pitch that had seen their side bowled out inside 43 overs.
The skipper eventually top-edged a sweep off Moeen to deep backward square with the job almost done. It was Somerset’s seventh win in the competition this season, having won the South Group, and their bowlers could take much of the credit.
Worcestershire were never able to get much momentum after winning the toss as Overton and Davey, playing in place of the injured Tim Groenewald, produced accurate opening six-over spells, which reduced the Rapids to 40 for three. Tom Kohler-Cadmore was brilliantly caught at slip by Jayawardene off Overton while Davey struck twice in one over, removing Tom Fell to a catch at backward point and Joe Clarke, who chipped tamely to mid-wicket.
Moeen and Mitchell then put the pitch in perspective with a stand of 113 in 19.4 overs, Moeen continuing his Test Match form with an elegant 76-ball innings, which featured 10 fours and a six.
He survived just one run out scare before miscuing a pull shot off Trego and being caught by Max Waller at deep mid-wicket.
At 175 for four with 17 overs to go, Worcestershire looked reasonably placed.
However Mitchell, who had played the perfect supporting role to Moeen with a 67-ball half-century was then well caught above his head by the retreating Davey at mid-off to give Trego his second wicket.
It sparked a collapse, with Ross Whiteley caught behind in the same over and Ben Cox quickly falling to Lewis Gregory.
The last hope was Brett D’Oliveira and when he fell to Overton for 21 the innings was in tatters. Joe Leach managed 20 before being run out by Roelof van der Merwe, who wrapped things up by pinning Jack Shantry leg before.
There were more than seven overs still available and the total looked 70 below par. So it proved.