Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s impressive 72 off 42 balls led Somerset to a confident five-wicket-win over the Sussex Sharks at the 1st Central County Ground in Hove.
In their opening fixture, the lacklustre Sharks made 183 from their 20 overs but were ultimately out-batted by the brutal Kohler-Cadmore and company.
In at three, the right-hander was eager to impose himself, attacking all five Sussex bowlers on his way to a 30-ball half-century which he reached by pulling George Garton for six in the 16th over.
At the other end, Tom Banton began Somerset’s reply in ruthless fashion, pillaging the fourth over for 29 runs. Facing the medium-pace of Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Banton twice scooped the all-rounder over his head, before reverse-sweeping him for a monstrous six.
Yet, just as it had brought him runs, the scoop-shot also brought Banton’s downfall, as the opener picked out third-man to depart for 32.
His opening partner also fell cheaply – Will Smeed caught in the deep off the bowling of George Garton.
It certainly wasn’t a good day at the office for Hudson-Prentice, who was dispatched for a further two sixes by Kohler-Cadmore, leaking 51 runs in total from his two and a half overs.
After his talisman fell, Tom Abell steadied the Somerset ship, hitting a composed 42 off 34 balls. By no means the flashiest knock, but exactly what Somerset needed to cross the finish line which they did with three balls to spare.
Earlier, Ravi Bopara held the home side together with the bat. Earlier in the week, Bopara made headlines with an outrageous 144 off 49 balls for the Sussex second XI.
In at four, he picked up where he’d left off for the seconds, slogging his sixth ball for a boundary on his way to an unbeaten 88 from 49 balls.
With the ball, Craig Overton proved the dominant force in the opening overs. After going for a couple of early boundaries, the England seamer claimed the wicket of Tom Clark with a cleverly disguised slower ball. He then dismissed Tom Alsop, caught on the boundary for 9.
Opening the batting, Ali Orr played a swashbuckling knock, caressing New Zealand seamer Matt Henry for three fours in a row in the fourth over. He then clubbed Somerset’s other overseas player, Peter Siddle, for a massive six in the next over, the ball sailing over the stand on the leg-side.
Orr fell for a captivating 33 off 18 balls, Lewis Gregory claiming his wicket with a fantastic, one-handed catch off his own bowling.
Between them, Henry and Siddle have 453 international wickets, but were ineffective against the smash-and-grab batting of Bopara. Despite taking three wickets, the former was pummelled for 50 runs while the latter went for 41.
Returning to the side on loan from Warwickshire, Michael Burgess chewed up 23 balls for his 17 runs, while debutant Shadab Khan came and went for 9. The Pakistan all-rounder pulled a short-pitched delivery from Roleof van der Merwe to Lewis Gregory at mid-wicket.
Van de Merwe was the pick of the visitors’ bowling attack. Despite taking only one wicket, the Dutch off-spinner conceded just 15 runs from his four overs, ensuring Sussex couldn’t reach 200.
Despite the wickets falling around him, Bopara continued his offensive, hitting a huge leg-side six before carving the next ball for four and knocking the innings’ final delivery for two.
In a moment of concern, Sussex’s two overseas players, Shadab Khan and Nathan McAndrew collided while both going for a catch in the seventh over.
Both were down for a sustained period. While McAndrew was able to play on, Khan didn’t take the field for the remainder of the match. Sussex are yet to comment on the nature of his injury.