Surrey took an enormous step towards the CB40 semi-finals tonight with an impressive run chase against Northamptonshire, rattling off the 297 runs required with an over and a ball to spare.
It seemed likely that our quest to win two of the final four games would become a much more pressured two from three after Northants, led primarily by young Alex Wakely's 94 from 77 balls on a fantastic batting track, piled on the runs. He was backed up by an even more rapid 55 from captain Andrew Hall with helpful cameos from two or three others.
None of the Surrey bowlers were able to tie down the Northants batsmen, Gareth Batty's 1-50 from his eight overs was the most economical return. Jade Dernbach did a good job to restrict the opposition in their powerplay in grabbing 3-53 but Yasir Arafat was again wayward, he bowled eight overs for 61 runs and didn't take even a single wicket.
Hamilton-Brown and Davies produced their second consecutive lightning limited overs start, putting on 75 runs at nearly 10 runs per over. But where in the past two wickets have fallen quickly precipitating a period of relatively slow scoring, and more wickets, tonight Adams and the skipper took a gamble which paid off handsomely.
After Davies fell with the score on 111, it was not Maynard but Schofield who joined Jason Roy at the crease. By the time they were parted 72 runs had been added at almost 8 an over, the required rate was down to six. The promotion of Schofield up the order, while not a long term solution, is ingenious. Batting down the order he is either required to hit every ball to the boundary or try and eke out his runs, at four he can just play his natural, attacking game. When Roy fell for a fine 65 off 42 balls we still had Maynard and de Bruyn to come.
Schofield carried on his merry way and with Maynard took Surrey to within 22 runs of their target. The four quick wickets of Maynard, Schofield, de Bruyn and Spriegel thereafter served notice of the dangers of the selection, but Arafat and Ansari were able to see us over the line.
One win from the final three games will almost certainly see us into the semi-final top of the group, and given we're the only side in the country unbeaten in the CB40 you have to say that's highly likely. Tonight was a seriously impressive performance, at the close of the Northants innings I didn't give us much of a chance, but we came through with a bit of room to spare. Well played.
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