Somerset clinched their first One-Day Cup title in 18 years after securing a six-wicket win over holders Hampshire at Lord’s.
Having restricted Sam Northeast’s side to 244-8, Somerset openers Tom Banton (69) and Azhar Ali (45) put on 112 for the first wicket as they cruised towards their target.
Despite the pair falling to fiery second spell from Fidel Edwards, stalwart James Hildreth struck an unbeaten 69 to see his side cruise home in just 43.3 overs.
It was Somerset’s first 50-over title since 2001, when they beat Leicestershire at Lord’s and their first silverware since they lifted the T20 trophy at The Oval in 2005.
Hampshire, without captain James Vince and Liam Dawson – who are both in England’s 15-man World Cup squad – elected to bat first on a green-tinged Lord’s pitch and found themselves in trouble early on in their innings as Josh Davey picked up a couple of early scalps.
Aneurin Donald (11) was the first to depart, smashing the seamer straight to short cover, before Tom Alsop was caught at slip by James Hildreth – one ball after being spilled in the cordon by the Somerset man.
A change of bowler brought another wicket as Lewis Gregory bowled Joe Weatherley (12) with Hampshire slipping to 50-3 but the Somerset bowler was then forced off the field with a side strain.
Captain Sam Northeast and Rilee Russouw – who scored a century in last year’s final – looked to repair the holders’ innings but the latter inside-edged a ball from Jamie Overton onto his stumps as their innings was pegged back once more.
With Hampshire’s innings struggling to burst into life, Northeast brought up his half-century but Tom Abell – bowling in place of Gregory – removed the skipper for 55 and bowled Kyle Abbott for two to leave them 180-8 with nine overs remaining.
A late flurry from James Fuller (55no off 48 balls), in which he smashed four fours and two sixes, and Mason Crane (28 no) helped Hampshire post 244-8 but it was always looked like a below-par score on the quick Lord’s outfield.
Banton and Azhar Ali’s brilliant opening partnership then put Somerset on course for a simple victory, although a searing second spell from Edwards saw the former caught behind and the latter caught at midwicket.
An important 49-run third-wicket stand between Peter Trego and Hildreth kept Somerset on track before the latter sent a looping tod-edge straight down Chris Wood’s throat at square leg.
However, Hildreth remained calm at the crease, bringing up his fifty and finishing with 69no off 68 balls, in an innings that included eight fours to take Somerset over the line in style with 39 balls spare.
You can watch every match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with England vs South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, May 30.