While I was enjoying a glorious evening at the Oval watching a thriller of a match involving Kent and Essex, Surrey were toiling in Cardiff and came up 10 runs short against Glamorgan - a second loss against the Welshmen inside a week and a third consecutive Twenty20 defeat.
We are still fifth in the table and one of four teams on 12 points but while Middlesex and Glamorgan are just hitting their straps now and Hampshire have a superior NRR, we are falling off the pace and have only two games to go. Middlesex and Hampshire play a double header today and tomorrow and one of those two really has the chance to get a tight grip on the fourth spot. The quarter finals don't look terribly likely right now for Surrey.
Last night wasn't a terrific performance, though after Glamorgan raced to nearly 80 in 8 overs our bowlers came back well to restrict them to 164. Surrey's reply was on the rocks impressively before a legitimate ball had even been bowled, the returning Steve Davies was stumped off a Robert Croft wide first ball. Thereafter only the impressive Stewart Walters made any impression with 53 off 36 balls.
The lower middle and lower order was again exposed for a lack of power, I see no reason why Spriegel who has hit just a single boundary in seven innings, is in ahead of Schofield, Meaker and even Nel. Spriegel has the second lowest strike rate of any batsman who has faced 50 or more balls in all 18 counties (bizarrely the lowest is Michael Carberry!). Spriegel has many talents and I rate him highly, but boundary hitting is not one of them.
That leaves us with six wins and eight defeats from 14 matches, and to be perfectly frank I'd have taken that at the start given the abysmal performances of the last two years. Two games remain, on Sunday at Arundel against Sussex and then a week later (why the week delay?!) against Gloucester at Bristol. I'm not doing the maths, but even two wins is very unlikely to leave us in with a chance. Its a disappointing end to what had become quite a hopeful campaign, but Twenty20 is all about peaking at the right time, and we didn't. Onwards and upwards!
Azhar Ali - One of the World's Best
6 days ago