Champions League T20: Somerset deserve a trophy
Somerset face Mumbai Indians knowing they are just two games from righting the wrongs of six cup finals
There is something about British sports figures falling at the final hurdle that really touches the general public.
No matter what their affiliation or interest in the sport, British fans will always root for the nearly men when others would discard them as failures.
Tim Henman, Paula Radcliffe and the ‘Golden Generation’ England football team are just some examples of sporting also-rans that carried huge support into each event they entered.
Each time they took the stage the British public urged them on with all their might, pleading Tiger Tim to go one better at Wimbledon, for Radcliffe to find that last bit of stamina to carry over the line first, for Lampard and Gerrard to finally click.
The amount of support the British can give a sporting figure seen to be talented but without the luck is astonishing.
Somerset are the modern day cricketing equivalent. After their narrow win over the Warriors sealed qualification to the semi-finals of the Champions League yesterday there was an outpouring on Twitter, willing them to make the final and win.
In the last two years Somerset have finished second five times. They endured possibly the most heart-breaking season in history in 2010 when they finished as runners-up in all three domestic competitions.
That bitter-sweet season included a last-ball botched run out to deny them the T20 title and the misery of finishing level on points with Notts in the County Championship only to miss out on the trophy through games won. Currently they are on a baron run of six cup final defeats on the bounce.
Despite all this they are a very good and talented team. Their recent record in domestic cricket means it’s hardly surprising they are rubbing shoulders with the best T20 sides in the world, and winning.
Leicestershire, who beat Somerset to win this year’s domestic T20 competition, were also at the Champions League but left at the qualification stages having been outclassed in their two matches. Somerset, though, qualified with distinction and have shone throughout the tournament against IPL sides and countless international stars.
Their side blends a mixture of exuberant youth and quality county professionals. They are led by Marcus Trescothick who is not in India as he no longer travels overseas but is a player still capable of performing on the international scene. Jos Buttler and George Dockrell represent the burgeoning youth within the side and both have embarked on careers with their respective countries.
Craig Kieswetter is becoming a devastating keeper-batsman and is flourishing with England while James Hildreth and Peter Trego compliment the side with consistency and domestic experience.
In the bowling department, Alfonso Thomas, Steve Kirby and Murali Kartik lead the way and proved decisive in their nail-biting final group game against the Warriors taking two wickets each.
The county have also proved to be shrewd recruiters in the overseas player market with the of hiring Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Cameron White in years gone by. This season, Roelof van der Merwe is no exception.
Somerset face Mumbai Indians on Saturday in the second semi-final knowing they are just two games away from righting the wrongs of their six previous cup final attempts, and how fitting it would be to do so in the most rewarding T20 tournament on the domestic scene.
Every fan in the South West will be urging them to do it and so will all of Tim, Paula, Frank and Steven’s fans as well.