The Vitality T20 Blast quarterfinals produced some enthralling contests over the weekend as well as some rather lopsided affairs, with several Australians featuring prominently.
The Inner Sanctum takes a look at how each of the seven Aussies in action fared across the quarterfinals.
Surrey v Yorkshire
A thrilling encounter between Surrey and Yorkshire featured 23-year-old all-rounder Aaron Hardie.
Having only recently signed with Surrey, this sudden death quarter-final marked just Hardie’s third appearance for the T20 Blast campaign.
With Surrey winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Hardie was given one over with the ball, conceding just seven runs without taking a wicket.
Yorkshire would go on to post a total of 5-160, with Tom Kohler-Cadmore top-scoring with 62 runs off 48 deliveries.
Arriving at the crease with the score at 4-84 off 12.1 overs, Hardie could only reach three runs before being dismissed by international-capped English off-spinner Dom Bess.
Surrey’s Jamie Overton then combined well with Laurie Evans to put together a much-needed 67-run partnership, edging their side closer to a famous victory.
Needing five runs to win off the final over, Surrey looked in the box seat to progress to the semi-finals. However, a superb bowling performance from Yorkshire’s Jordan Thompson guided the away side to an unlikely victory.
Thompson picked up the crucial wickets of Overton and incoming batter Sunil Narine in successive deliveries, before beating the bat on the last ball of the match to secure a one-run win for his team.
It was heartbreak for Hardie and Surrey, whilst jubilation for Yorkshire.
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Warwickshire v Hampshire
In stark contrast to the first quarter-final, a vastly one-sided affair played out between these two teams, with Hampshire running away with a comprehensive 104-run win.
Hampshire won the toss and elected to bat first, posting a highly competitive total of 6-186 off its allotted 20 overs. Ben McDermott was central to his side’s fortunes, top-scoring for the match.
Despite only registering one run off the first eight deliveries he faced, McDermott quickly found his groove, amassing 61 runs off 36 balls in a knock that included six fours and four sixes.
The 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batter combined beautifully with fellow batting partner James Vince for a 93-run opening stand, establishing a strong platform for his side.
McDermott’s innings marked his fourth half-century of the T20 Blast campaign.
Fellow Australian Nathan Ellis then proceeded to give Hampshire the perfect start with the ball, picking up the big wicket of Irish opening batter Paul Stirling for one run in just the second over of the innings.
From that point onwards, all the momentum was with the away side, with Hampshire bowling Warwickshire out for just 82 inside 13.3 overs.
Ellis claimed the final two wickets of the match, finishing with remarkable figures of 3-4 off 1.3 overs. The right-arm seamer has now picked up 12 wickets at an average of 21.67 across 11 matches so far in the tournament.
Lancashire v Essex
Damaging all-rounders Tim David (Lancashire) and Daniel Sams (Essex) faced off when Lancashire met Essex at Old Trafford.
After electing to bat first, Essex got off to a fast start, reaching 0-42 off the first four overs of the innings. However, a brilliant piece of fielding from David sparked a shift in momentum, with the 26-year-old taking a diving catch in the outfield to dismiss the dangerous opening batter, Adam Rossington.
David then pocketed another superb catch to remove middle-order batter Dan Lawrence, handing his side the ascendancy.
With the score sitting at 5-112 off 14.5 overs, Sams arrived at the crease with work to do. The Sydney Thunder all-rounder went on to compile a very handy unbeaten 25 runs off 17 balls (including two sixes) to guide his team to a total of 5-161 off its allotted 20 overs.
Chasing 162 for victory, it was a far from ideal start for Lancashire, with opening batter Keaton Jennings departing for a diamond duck in the first over of the innings.
Nevertheless, it was smooth sailing from then on for the home side. Lancashire batter Steven Croft top-scored with an unbeaten 76* runs off 48 balls to guide his team to a comfortable seven-wicket win.
Sams was unable to have much of an impact with the ball, finishing with figures of 0-21 off his two overs. Meanwhile, David had little to do with bat in hand, hitting a boundary off the last ball of the match to seal the win for his side.
Lancashire will now come up against Yorkshire for a spot in the T20 Blast final.
Somerset v Derbyshire
Having finished second on the table in the South Group, Somerset produced a stunning display against Derbyshire in its quarter-final clash, recording a thumping 191-run victory.
The result marked the biggest winning margin in T20 Blast history, whilst Somerset’s mammoth total of 5-265 now stands as the fifth-highest total to be ever recorded in T20 cricket.
Somerset duo Tom Banton and Rilee Rossouw were dynamic, combining for 166 runs (including 12 fours and 13 sixes). Rossouw blasted 36 runs off just a single over, top-scoring with 93 runs off 36 deliveries.
Remarkably, Somerset amassed a whopping 185 runs off its last 11 overs of their batting innings.
Requiring 266 runs for victory, it was always going to be a tall order for Derbyshire to advance in the tournament. Veteran fast bowler Peter Siddle put the result beyond doubt, picking up three wickets in the opening six overs of Derbyshire’s batting innings.
Siddle finished with figures of 3-10 off two overs, helping Somerset bowl Derbyshire out for just 74. The 37-year-old has now taken 17 wickets across 10 matches for the campaign.
Middle-order batter Hilton Cartwright was only able to reach 10 off nine balls before being dismissed, on what was a dismal night for Derbyshire.
Somerset is now set to face Hampshire in their semi-final clash.
The Vitality T20 Blast Finals Day is set to take place at Edgbaston on July 16.
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