|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl (day three):|
|Hampshire 196:Dawson 103& 226:Vince 142|
|Somerset 142:Abbott 9-40& 144:Davies 51, Abbott 8-46|
|Hampshire (19 pts) beat Somerset (3 pts) by 136 runs|
Kyle Abbott finished with match figures of 17-86 as Hampshire dealt a huge blow to Somerset’s County Championship title hopes with victory at the Ageas Bowl.
The ex-South Africa paceman followed his first-innings 9-40 with 8-46 as Somerset were 144 all out, chasing 281.
His match figures, which helped his team to a 136-run win, are the best by any Hampshire bowler ever and the fourth best in Championship history.
Hampshire captain James Vince had earlier made 142 in their 226 all out.
The result has left Somerset needing to beat nearest rivals Essex in their final match, which gets under way on Monday, 23 September.
Having started this round of fixtures with an eight-point advantage at the top of the Division One table, the West Country side find themselves 12 points adrift in second after Essex beat Surrey by an innings and 40 runs.
The title will now be decided at the County Ground in Taunton in what promises to be a thrilling finale to the season.
Somerset subside as Abbott causes chaos
Somerset’s chase at the Ageas Bowl looked a tough one even before Vince added 40 to his overnight 102 to extend Hampshire’s advantage to 280.
The England batsman, ably supported by Abbott (25), struck 22 fours before eventually being caught behind off Craig Overton (3-74).
Somerset openers Steven Davies (51) and Murali Vijay (29) then looked relatively untroubled in seeing them to 86-0, briefly raising their hopes of pulling off what had looked an unlikely victory.
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But the departure of India batsman Vijay sparked another top-order collapse, as seven wickets fell for just 14 runs to completely turn the contest on its head.
Having bowled too short before lunch, Abbott pitched the ball up and wreaked havoc during the afternoon session, with Tom Banton and George Bartlett both trapped in front playing across the line and Davies (51) edging to the slips to give him three wickets in four balls.
Before Liam Dawson took the penultimate wicket, of Roelof van der Merwe, Abbott was in with a chance of returning the second-best first-class figures of all time – second only to Jim Laker’s 19-90 for England against Australia in 1956.
But he did at least bowl last man Josh Davey to give him 17 wickets, the best Championship haul since 1925 – and he now has 68 this season at a cost of only 15.70 each.
Best match figures in Championship
- 17-48 C Blythe, Kent v Northamptonshire 1907
- 17-56 C Parker, Gloucestershire v Essex 1925
- 17-67 A Freeman, Kent v Sussex 1922
- 17-86 K Abbott, Hampshire v Somerset 2019
- 17-89 WG Grace, Gloucestershire v Nottinghamshire 1877
- 17-89 F Matthews, Nottinghamshire v Northamptonshire 1923
Hampshire fast bowler Kyle Abbott:
“It hasn’t quite sunk in. It is pretty incredible. Yesterday I didn’t think I’d take nine and I didn’t think I’d take eight today. I reckon that is the best I can bowl.
“Everything I wanted to do worked. It just happened to be one of those days – it was incredible. When it started to reverse it got quite fun. We knew we had to get into their middle order and put pressure on them as 280 was a long way off.
“At 86-0 we were just thinking if we get one of the openers and the captain that was the goal. They were under huge pressure, they are young guys searching for their first championship; we had nothing to lose.
“Would I prefer to finish third or spoil Somerset’s party? I wanted to spoil the party by a long way. They celebrated against us at the One-Day Cup final so we wanted to give them some hard work for next week against Essex.”
Somerset captain Tom Abell:
“They had three international cricketers who took control of the game for them. We were second best in all facets. We felt we were in with a chance at the beginning of the day but we went through a spell where we lost seven wickets for not many runs.
“Hats off to Kyle Abbott. He was unbelievable throughout the game. He got the ball tailing and we needed to adapt better as batters. He targeted the stumps and there were too many lbws and bowleds.
“There is a huge amount of excitement around Somerset cricket at the moment and we are desperate to deliver the Championship.
“This week hasn’t gone our way but we have a good opportunity next week. We will dust ourselves down before the Essex game.”