Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Rematch: Surrey vs Lancashire

Surrey make the long journey to Old Trafford in the hope that they can continue their 100% (excluding the Unicorns washout) record in the CB40 competition, and repeat their victory from Whitgift earlier in the season.

The Lancashire squad is as follows: Glen Chapple (capt), James Anderson, Mark Chilton, Steven Croft, Paul Horton, Simon Kerrigan, Sajid Mahmood, Stephen Moore, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Daren Powell, Luke Procter, Tom Smith, Luke Sutton (wkt).

That's a very dangerous looking side, Chapple and Anderson missed the game at Whitgift and it could be the first time Lancashire field their first choice attack featuring that pair and Mahmood.  That will be a tricky prospect indeed for Surrey.  It remains to be seen if Daren Powell will play as well, I hope so, because I think he's pretty average.  Tom Smith is a good young player who bowled very well at Whitgift and I hope he features.

Lancashire's batting is strong too, Moore has two CB40 centuries to his name already while the entire Surrey team have none between them.  Prince (who also has a hundred this season), Croft and Horton complete a very strong top order.  Hogg, if he plays, Mahmood and Chapple are more than capable of adding a few lusty lower order runs.  Lancashire could line up:


Smith's batting has been a bit lacklustre, so they may choose to open with Moore and either shift Smith down the order or bring in another batting option.  With the strength in that seam bowling unit, I fail to see how Surrey can risk going into the game with only four pure batsmen (Spriegel still has to be classed as an allrounder at this level and Wilson is unproven/not good enough - delete as you see fit!) as they did yesterday, and I hope the lineup will be:


I still wonder whether Walters is of the necessary quality at this level, but if two of the top four can put together a decent partnership, Walters and Spriegel should be able to cobble some runs together.  I still think Spriegel is a place too high, but unless Younis has arrived overnight there isn't a strong enough batsman to come in.

Someone needs to take responsibility for the innings as well, Surrey have has 26 innings by opening batsmen this season in all competitions and only 6 fifties have been registered by them, and no hundreds whatsoever.  That needs to be addressed.

The return of Davies at the top is a huge boost and hopefully his quick runs will provide the necessary impetus whether setting a target or chasing one.  Dernbach may be persisted with, and that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing despite his horrible four overs on Friday, but Linley has been performing well in the seconds and though not a wicket taker, could perform a more containing role than Dernbach can.

This will be a tough match for Surrey, on paper Lancashire look the stronger of the two sides.  The combination of Chapple/Mahmood/Anderson have plenty of experience (all internationals to a greater or lesser extent) and bags of ability.  I think it will be important for Surrey's top order to target Mahmood who is prone to leaking runs.  If they can do that and really kick off, they could just sneak it.

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