The run of six consecutive limited overs wins had to end at some point, and so it was at the Rose Bowl tonight, Surrey were comfortably beaten by a very good Hampshire side.
Surrey lost the toss and Cork sent Hamilton-Brown and Davies out to bat. Looking to carry on the good work from last night, Davies was clean bowled by Cork himself for a golden duck, the worst possible start. Hamilton-Brown and Roy then made good headway until the former was bowled by Danny Briggs, the latter was run out soon after, neither had passed 20. Tom Maynard managed just three runs from five deliveries as the pressure on the top order told.
Wickets fell at all-too regular intervals and predictably the innings stalled. If it sounds like I'm repeating myself, it's probably because I am, if the top order fireworks don't happen we don't have a reliable Plan B, the lower middle order is too bits-and-pieces, and Imran Tahir was too good. De Bruyn and Schofield did a decent job of hauling the total into respectable territory but 140 was never likely to be enough.
Lumb and Adams, one of the stronger opening pairs on the county circuit, raced out of the blocks at 10 runs an over. By the time Linley bowled Adams the target had been whittled down to under 100. Worryingly Dirk Nannes didn't bowl after his initial two over spell, and was replaced on the field by Gary Wilson. The last thing we need is an injury to another of our seamers.
Vince and McKenzie calmly reduced the total, never having to take big risks. Hampshire are a well balanced T20 side, exemplified by their comprehensive win over Somerset, another very strong side, on Wednesday. If we are to compete with the very best T20 sides, and I think we have the raw materials to do so, I really think an extra batsman is required, we cannot continue to gamble on just five out-and-out bats, we will get found out too often - not every time, but too often to be considered genuine challengers.
It's not the end of the world, it's one defeat and there's still 14 games to play in the group stages. I just hope Adams doesn't see this simply as a blip, the formula isn't quite right (but neither is it wildly wrong), it needs a tweak or two.