Two impressive performances, one expected, one not expected, carried Surrey to a narrow(ish) win over Warwickshire in the CB40 at Guildford today. Northamptonshire's defeat to Leicestershire and apparent loss of form in recent weeks is also good news. We now sit atop the table, two points clear of Durham with a game in hand.
The expected high-class performance came from Zander de Bruyn who now has over 1,400 runs in all forms of cricket for Surrey this season. His unbeaten 84 from 92 balls was perfectly paced. He was helped an injection of 22 runs from just 16 balls by Zafar Ansari to bring the rate right down and Chris Schofield helped the side home with 13 from 11.
The unexpected performance came from Yasir Arafat. Adams gambled on selecting him and he repaid the faith handsomely, 5-45 was the result including both openers and both Warwickshire top scorers. Although Arafat will get the plaudits, Tim Linley's eight over spell for just 27 runs and the wicket of William Porterfield confirmed that he's in superb form.
Hamilton-Brown opened the bowling himself and actually bowled his full quota of eight overs meaning Ansari and Schofield bowled just four overs apiece, and Spriegel none at all. Given the performances in recent weeks of Azhar Mahmood and Tim Murtagh, you could've been forgiven for thinking Rikki Clarke's aggressive 76 from just 61 balls would spell disaster for Surrey after some tight bowling on a slow pitch had restricted Warwickshire for large parts of their innings.
The Davies-Hamilton-Brown partnership was in fact rekindled, albeit very briefly, Hamilton-Brown was out for a two ball duck off the last ball of Jeetan Patel's first over. Jason Roy was also gone soon after with just 15 on the board, I wonder whether he and the captain have yet to really shake the Twenty20s out of their systems. Thereafter Davies and de Bruyn, Maynard and de Bruyn and the tail and de Bruyn did a fine job of turning over the strike and picking off bad balls here and there to keep the rate up.
Again you get the feeling we won here without really hitting top gear, which augurs well for some pretty tough tests still to come in the CB40. We will still need more substantial scores from our young tyros if we are to think about winning this tournament, but there is clearly fuel left in the tank. Well played today.