Saturday, 16 July 2011

Stiff CB40 challenge at Durham

With a 100% record in the CB40 this season Surrey ought to have some reserves of confidence to call on, but recovering from the psychological blow of the two consecutive defeats sending us out of the Twenty20 will be a challenge.

The game tomorrow against Durham, weather permitting, represents the biggest challenge in the CB40 so far this season. Two wins apiece against Hampshire and Scotland, plus one against Leicestershire is nothing to be sniffed at, but between them those three teams have just two wins thus far in 2011. Northants, Durham and Warwickshire, all of whom we still have to play twice, have much better records.

Adams is persisting with his selection policy which (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) I maintain is a batsman light, but in any case the squad and expected team is as follows:

De Bruyn

Bench: Meaker, Wilson

Given that there are only really five batsmen in the squad who have displayed any kind of form of late, the top order picks itself. If Adams was unwilling to pick Wilson for either of the final Twenty20s it seems unlikely that he'll throw him in on Sunday. The Second XI hiatus has come at the wrong time for getting reserve batsmen into form.

With a Championship match coming hot on the heels of this game, and after he took some punishment on Thursday and Friday, it might be a good idea to give Meaker a rest though that would give yet another (undeserved) reprieve for Yasir Arafat. The one thing in his favour is that his CB40 performances have easily been his best for us this year. Tim Linley certainly deserves a game given his recent form. I'm particularly surprised that Matt Spriegel has not even been named in the squad given his good form in the CB40s this year.

Durham are a very good side, Onions, Borthwick, Plunkett and of course Paul Collingwood present a challenge to the batsmen, and in Benkenstein, Muchall, Coetzer and Mustard are capable of destructive feats. We're fortunate that Ben Stokes is still unavailable through injury.

The pressure is on Adams now to deliver some kind of progress after the failure of the Twenty20s, and this competition is the one in which we are best placed. If we bat first and get a good start, we're definitely contenders, but I don't fancy us chasing anything substantial. A win against a good Durham side tomorrow will restore some of the side's belief and gives a good platform to go into the second half of group matches.

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