Cricket: Blackcaps' Jimmy Neesham man-of-the-match, Finn Allen impresses in English T20 Blast

Blackcaps all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has made a winning start to the English T20 Blast, putting in a man-of-the-match performance for Essex against Somerset.

Winning the toss and fielding first, Neesham's Essex would have watched nervously, as Somerset recorded an impressive 185/7 from their 20 overs at Taunton.

Essex were in trouble in response, reduced to 102/4, when Neesham strode to the crease at No. 6.

With his team needing 84 runs from 51 balls, Neesham struck a fluent half-century, taking only 23 balls to raise his bat, with seven fours and two sixes in his innings.

Neesham eventually fell for a 25-ball 53, bowled by former South African test quick Marchant de Lange, but his job was done.

As Neesham walked back to the hut at 176/6 at the end of the 18th over, Essex needed only 10 runs from 12 balls, with the pair of Aron Nijar and Jack Plom guiding the side home for a valuable two points.

Essex sit second in the T20 Blast's South Group, behind Kent - who have fellow Kiwi Adam Milne on their books, sitting out of their opening 38-run win over Hampshire.

Elsewhere, Blackcaps youngster Finn Allen impressed in his first outing for Lancashire, which opened their tournament with a six-wicket win over Derbyshire.

Opening the batting alongside England international Liam Livingstone in chase of 169, Allen struck a rapid 29 from 13 balls, with five fours and one six at a strike rate of 223. 

The 22-year-old was caught behind in the fifth over, but had added 53 runs for the first wicket alongside Livingstone in just 27 balls.

Livingstone batted through to score an unbeaten 94, as Lancashire won by six wickets with three balls up their sleeve.

Playing for Worcestershire, Ish Sodhi took 1/27 from his four overs - dismissing opening batsman Joe Clarke of Nottinghamshire, as the two sides tied, both finishing with their scores at 152.

Fellow Kiwi Lockie Ferguson will also be in action during the T20 Blast, after signing for Yorkshire, while Devon Conway and Colin de Grandhomme will link up with Somerset and Hampshire respectively, after their Blackcaps test commitments.