A strong Hampshire side featuring Lumb, Carberry and Pietersen triumphed by ten runs at the Rose Bowl today, and while in truth we were further behind than that, it was a decent effort in chasing a mammoth total.
Hampshire won the toss, chose to bat and probably the least vaunted (but most in-form) of their batting lineup, Jimmy Adams, cracked an excellent 101* from 65 balls following up a half century against Somerset on Friday. 201/2 was the result after 20 overs with Sean Ervine also contributing an impressive 54 from 34. Surrey's bowling today was less impressive than the last two games, Dernbach went for 36 runs before being forcibly withdrawn from the attack after two no balls for height.
Nel and Tremlett also went for 9 and 10 an over with only one wicket between them but Symonds two overs in the middle of the innings were most costly, they went for 32 runs and his bowling has been well below par so far. Gareth Batty was only given a single over for 9 runs, more on this later.
Surrey's top order batting was brittle again, in the four games so far our top three batsmen are out for just an average of 12.3 runs, that doesn't make for impressive starts and does not constitute exploiting the powerplays. Davies did today pass 20, but only made it to 24 but again seemed in good touch, although the manner in which he got out - trying to hit a second consecutive six - was perhaps unnecessary. The Batty-at-three experiment continues but will surely end there, he was run out for a second consecutive duck.
Thereafter though the news is better. OK Symonds was out for 26 which is well below what he's capable of, but he did start to middle a few and will hopefully kick on. Ramps continued serenely on with 61 before getting out when trying to press on. Younus perished similarly in the pursuit of quick runs and when he was clean bowled by veteran Dominic Cork, the game was up. Hampshire were penalised 6 runs for a slow over rate, but even that wasn't enough to bring us close enough.
The selection of Batty and Schofield in the same side continues to confuse me. I'm no master tactician, but Batty is not a pinch hitter and has never shown himself to be, he hasn't bowled more than two overs in either game (and is going at 10 and over) so he's clearly in for his batting, which is very strange. Stewart Walters waits in the wings, he is a batsman able to hit a long ball and is also an excellent fielder. Walters has to come in for the match on Thursday if we are to win. The employment of Spriegel in the lower order again confused me, its unfair to expect him to hit big, he isn't that sort of player and suits a more accumulator-type role. The fact that his strike rate this tournament is 80 runs per 100 balls (no one in the top 50 run scorers has a srtike rate below 105) would seem to suggest he's not playing in the correct role.
The batting though is slowly starting to slot into place, RHB and Davies' propensity to get out cheaply is frustrating and will have to stop if we are to post/chase big totals, but Ramps in this form and Symonds and Younus scoring decent (and quick) runs around him will see us bag plenty. Three losses out of four is a rubbish start to the Twenty20 Cup, and we'll not be progressing far, but consistent improvement through the next 12 games and we might be a force to be reckoned with at the back end of the month.
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