Sussex back on track in One Day Cup as Pujara ton defeats Somerset

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A trademark century from Cheteshwar Pujara guided Sussex Sharks to a four-wicket Metro Bank One Day Cup victory over Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.

The Indian run-machine hit an unbeaten 117 off 113 balls as his side chased down at target of 319 with 11 balls to spare. Tom Alsop contributed 60 and Oli Carter a rapid 44.

Maiden Somerset hundreds from Andy Umeed (119) and Curtis Campher (101) had propelled their team to 318 for six after winning the toss, Fynn Hudson-Prentice claiming three for 50.

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But it looked no more than a par total in warm sunshine on a flat batting pitch and the Sharks ran it down comfortably to achieve their first win in the competition at the fourth attempt.

Oli Carter plays a shot during the successful Sussex run chase at Somerset (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)Oli Carter plays a shot during the successful Sussex run chase at Somerset (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Oli Carter plays a shot during the successful Sussex run chase at Somerset (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Sussex Sharks head coach Paul Farbrace said: “Pujara’s innings was outstanding, but the one that really got us over the line was Oli Carter’s.

“There was a little period where I felt we just got behind the required run-rate a fraction. But in the end it was a really important win for us. If we had left here after four days on the road with four defeats from as many games it would have been a long way back.”

Next up for Sussex is Glamorgan’s visit to Hove on Sunday (Aug 13).

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Excellent opening spells by Sean Hunt and Hudson-Prentice restricted Somerset to 36 for one off 10 overs, George Thomas caught behind off the latter for five and Umeed playing and missing on numerous occasions.

Hudson-Prentice had George Bartlett caught by wicketkeeper Carter, driving at a full-length ball and when James Rew, on 22, lofted a catch to long-off to give off-spinner Jack Carson his first wicket, Somerset were 80 for three in the 20th over.

Umeed recovered from his uncertain start and set about bettering his career-best List A score of 77, made in the previous game against Northamptonshire. The opener reached a 68-ball fifty with a four through mid-wicket off Henry Crocombe.

Campher greeted the introduction of leg-spinner Archie Lenham by dispatching his second ball for six over mid-wicket on his way to a 45-ball half-century and Umeed followed suit off the same bowler as the pair raised the tempo.

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Umeed produced a succession of sweetly-timed strokes in moving to his maiden List A hundred, off 115 balls, with 9 fours and 2 sixes.

The stand with Campher was worth 163 from 23 overs when Umeed got an inside edge onto his stumps off Hudson-Prentice to make the score 243 for four.

Campher reached his ton off 79 balls, with 9 fours and 3 sixes, before being caught at long-on off Carson, and skipper Sean Dickson’s rapid 40 at the end of the innings ensured his side of a competitive total.

Somerset gave the new ball to debutant James (JT) Langridge and the 17-year-old left-arm seamer did not disappoint, taking a wicket in his second over as Tom Haines sliced a catch to deep backward square.

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It was 47 for two when Tom Clark edged a pull shot off Jack Brooks to wicketkeeper Rew. But by then Alsop was well set and it seemed inevitable that Pujara would flourish in the afternoon sunshine.

So it proved, as the pair added 92 in 15 overs with barely a false shot, Alsop reaching a 49-ball half-century before nicking a ball from medium-pacer George Thomas and seeing Rew take an excellent catch standing up to the stumps.

Pujara followed Alsop to fifty, also off 49 balls, the Indian maestro calmly picking gaps in the field to keep the Sharks up with the required run rate. But the Sharks lost a fourth wicket when James Coles was bowled for 21, pushing forward to the left-arm spin of Josh Thomas, younger brother of George.

Hudson-Prentice looked unlucky to be judged lbw aiming a reverse sweep at Josh Thomas and at 202 for five in the 34th over Sharks’ hopes rested with Pujara.

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Carter injected a late surge, smacking 4 fours and 2 sixes, including one amazing tennis shot that cleared the ropes over long-off, proving an ideal foil for Pujara, who coasted to his 16th List A century off 105 balls, barely seeming to take a risk.

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