Somerset hammer woeful Steelbacks

Northampton, Steelbacks v Somerset T20: '26/06/12.

Northampton, Steelbacks v Somerset T20: '26/06/12.

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If you think you’ve read this all before then I can only apologise.

For the fifth time this season the Steelbacks finished up on the losing side - by seven wickets with more than six overs to spare this time - in the Friends Life t20.

For the fifth time this season they came up short with the bat.

For the fifth time this season they were left wondering just where the next victory will come from.

And if they keep producing the kind of insipid performance that was on show against Somerset, they will be kept wondering for a good while longer.

In simple terms this was a mismatch, a contest between one side brimming with confidence and yet to taste defeat and another with nothing of the sort and yet to savour a positive result.

From the moment Kyle Coetzer, after teasing everyone with a pair of sweetly struck boundaries in Alfonso Thomas’ opening over, was cleaned up in the next one bowled by Steven Kirby it was a steady downhill procession.

And one damning statistic tells you all you need to know.

After Cameron White had swatted Kevin O’Brien’s first delivery over midwicket – the first of the eighth over – another boundary didn’t arrive until the fourth of the 18th, a staggering 64 balls later.

From such efforts meagre totals are born and 115-6 was exactly that.

Alex Wakely scratched his way to 34 and David Murphy, in collaboration with James Middlebrook, cobbled a few together in the final stages but that was about it.

Chaminda Vaas skied to point, Cameron White lofted to deep cover, Rob White patted to short extra, and Wakely and David Willey were both stumped in the same over.

The group leaders, at the halfway stage, will have been extremely pleased with the state of play, especially because they possess one of the strongest batting orders in the domestic game and when Craig Kieswetter swatted Vaas twice through the off side in the first five balls of the reply and a sense of inevitability took over. And that was small fry once Richard Levi took over.

The burly South African launched four sixes, the first of which off Jack Brooks was gigantic, before hoisting Con de Lange to deep midwicket in the final over of the powerplay but by then the damage had already been done with more than half of the target wiped off.

But that didn’t bring on a canter to victory as Kieswetter continued to flay away merrily until, just after he passed a characteristically uncomplicated half-century, de Lange speared one through his defences.

Coetzer then spilt a regulation chance in the deep to reprieve Jos Buttler and it perfectly encapsulated the hosts’ evening.

For want of a better description - dreadful.