Kevin Pietersen's Surrey debut didn't manage to obscure the fact that we suffered another defeat, in fact another hefty defeat yesterday evening to a side who although in form, were until recently the whipping boys of the group.
The match may well have been lost in the toss, batting first on a supremely good track was always going to be the best ploy but it was still a good surface come the Surrey innings and yet we were still very short on runs - 90 to be precise. As if to ram home the idea that this was a magnificent batting surface, our final total - 286 - is more often than not a winning total.
But Worcestershire got more, largely thanks to two impressive hundreds from Solanki and Gareth Andrew, the latter from just 57 balls including six sixes. We were guilty of some pretty poor bowling, Tremlett's drop off in form is alarming but hopefully the Championship games will be more to his liking, and Dernbach, although he picked up three wickets, served up too many half volleys and long hops for my liking. The spinners never really looked threatening and I'm not sure Chris Schofield has done enough this season to warrant another year at the club - the 37 runs he scored was 10 short of the number he conceded in just 4 overs of his leggies.
Our innings started supremely well, Hamilton-Brown and Davies looking in fine touch despite some significant swing from Jack Shantry. Davies was clean bowled by him with his score on just 12 after playing for swing that didn't quite materialise that ball. Hamilton-Brown continued on his merry way and was out on 80 from 41 balls trying one too many sixes - but it was exactly what was needed. Pietersen played second fiddle to the captain for most of his innings and looked to take the initiative once his younger partner was out, unfortunately he was caught and bowled by Choudhry. Immediately prior to his dismissal he had played a gorgeous cover drive, picking the gap perfectly.
Thereafter we were never likely to recover, and this is where I worry that the lessons of previous defeats are not being learned. I accept that the policy of playnig Schofield at 7 has reaped rewards in certain games this season but it has relied on massive starts from the openers by and large. Today on a wicket on which Schofield's bowling was never likely to keep the runs down he should've been dropped in favour of the extra batsman - Jason Roy - who gives us some firepower lower in the order. Spriegel and Hamilton-Brown, the sixth and seventh bowlers respectively, bowled 8 overs between them in any case.
I still doubt that we would've chased 376 down, but with a top order of RHB, Davies, Pietersen, Ramprakash and Roy we give ourselves a bloody good chance. We're now completely out of the CB40 and after such a roaring start in the competition that is galling.
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