A close finish in low-scoring affairs is always a treat to watch for cricket fans. A First-Class County Championship match between Lancashire and Somerset promised all that and more in a span of just two days. It was a bowler’s game right from the beginning. Wickets falling was a regular sight all day along. Only two half-centuries in the game and two spinners from each team taking more than 10 wickets.
South African spinner Keshav Maharaj turned out to be the star of the game taking 7 wickets in the fourth innings. Maharaj spun a web around Somerset batsman taking a total of 11 wickets in the game.
He took the last wicket of Jack Leach who tried to finish off the game with an aerial shot. Luckily for him, the ball landed in the safe hands of Tom Bailey.
Leach, the Somerset off-spinner was gutted with the result. He got out playing a reckless shot on the last ball. However, he was phenomenal with the ball taking 12 wickets in the game, 5 in the first innings followed by 7 in the second.
In the first innings, Lancashire posted a total of 99. Opener Alex Davies top-scored with 20 as the team bundled up in the 40th over. Somerset’s first innings got them a lead of 93 runs. The batsman struggled but managed to post a decent total riding high on Lewis Gregory’s unbeaten quickfire knock of 63.
In the second innings, Lancashire batsmen toiled hard but managed to post 170 runs on the scoreboard. Steven Croft starred with his half-century with support from skipper Liam Livingstone from the other end.
With 78 runs needed to win, Somerset must have thought it will be a stroll in the park. But Maharaj thought otherwise. Even the experienced former English opener Marcus Trescothick fell early. Every boundary, every run had its impact. Runs were hard to come by despite Somerset having all the time to chase down a lowly total.
One run to win.
What happened next? Absolute scenes.
— Lancashire Cricket (@lancscricket) September 5, 2018
Only three batsmen managed to register scores in double digits. The batting collapse led to extra pressure. It was Somerset’s match to lose. Despite the tie, Lancashire players were satisfied with what they achieved.
Here are a few reactions to the nerve-racking thriller of a match:
— Annie Chave (@AnnieChave) September 5, 2018
If I wasn’t sitting down, I’d have to sit down for a minute.
That beats the last over win in the 1975 Monton u13s vs Weaste U13s semi-final (where I smacked 7 off the last two balls, just in case you’d forgotten)
— Paul Cotterill (@Bickerrecord) September 5, 2018
Jesus H Christ!! I’d have given up smoking if it wasn’t for you lot!!
— Patrick O’Brien (@NorwoodTrash) September 5, 2018
This season is giving me grey hairs. Blimey
— B12Simon (@B12Simon) September 5, 2018
Bowlers again & what a signing Maharaj!!
Proved some doubters wrong i guess.
— RonnieWeebs (@KeithWheble) September 5, 2018
Announce the Maharaj stand
— Sam Westerside (@samwesterside99) September 5, 2018
It is Lancashire’s 5th Tied FC Match, actually.
vs Surrey, 1894.
vs England XI, 1905
vs Hampshire, 1947
vs Essex, 1952
vs Somerset, today.
— Israr Ahmed Hashmi (@IamIsrarHashmi) September 5, 2018
Somerset players were gutted with the result as they should have been. It’s their first tied Championship game since 1939. Regardless, the match was a hit on social media with over 2 million impressions on Twitter. Once again it proves that the longer format of the game is still worth reviving.