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The pressure's on Somerset, insists Alleyne

Mark Alleyne insists the heat is on Somerset ahead of today's Twenty20 Cup derby at Taunton.

If Gloucestershire require a win to offset the damage inflicted by last Friday's washout at Cardiff, Somerset's need for victory is even more acute.

Beaten by Warwickshire, Northants and Glamorgan in their opening three fixtures, Somerset take on their neighbours this evening knowing another defeat will, in all likelihood, sound a death knell for their hopes of making the quarter-finals.

Gloucestershire head coach Alleyne said: "They're probably in a position where they have to beat us to keep alive their hopes of qualifying from the group.

"Playing us at Taunton is definitely a must-win game for them. They will be aware of that and a situation like that always brings pressure."

Gloucestershire improved their position in the Midland/Wales and West Division, beating Worcestershire by nine wickets in a rain-affected game in Bristol on Monday.

Alleyne said: "Beating Worcestershire has put us back on track and we now play Somerset knowing we are well-placed in the group. Had we lost on Monday, we would have found ourselves in a similar situation to the one Somerset are in."

Gloucestershire suffered humiliating defeat by a world record scoreline in the corresponding fixture last year and are desperate to avoid a repeat.

Yet Alleyne sought to play down rivalry between the West neighbours, claiming defeat at the hands of Somerset felt no worse than losing to any other opponent.

He said: "Personally, it hurts me when we lose any game, period.

"I don't think losing to Somerset is any worse than, say, losing to Yorkshire. I understand our supporters might see things differently, but I look at these things as a professional cricketer rather than through the eyes of the public."

Yet Alleyne insists his players have learned from last season's mauling at Taunton and are prepared for all eventualities.

He confided: "We know Somerset's biggest strength is in their batting and that they have guys in their top order who can win a game on their own.

"Of course we are aware of the threat they pose and we will seek to counter that.

"But we certainly won't be worrying about it."

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