I hope you will forgive my absence for the last few days, I had some urgent matters to attend to relating to my upcoming nuptials! Meanwhile Surrey's unbeaten start to the 2012 CB40 campaign continued as they overcame a strong Durham outfit by 60 runs at the Oval.
Surrey's form in forty over matches is extraordinary, they have won 15 of their last 16 matches in this format and have been thoroughly convincing in the vast majority of those. And so it was today as well, despite what looked like a slightly below par total after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
The 221 runs we ended up with was largely thanks to contributions from two men, Tom Maynard (77) and Zafar Ansari (60 not out). It was Maynard's first fifty of this season's CB40 and Ansari's maiden List A fifty for Surrey. Against an attack featuring four current or ex-England bowlers that is some achievement.
Durham's asking rate then was a touch above 5.5 runs an over. Their experienced and quality batting lineup will have had high hopes of whittling off the runs, but Surrey had other ideas. Despite Jade Dernbach's first two overs costing 16 runs Durham were in trouble early on as their top three came and went before the 13th over was out and with only 59 runs on the board.
Matthew Spriegel continued his good form with the ball in taking 2-14 off four overs, again it was he and Jon Lewis who restricted the batsmen in the middle overs, between them they bowled 10 overs for just 36 runs. Gareth Batty did his partnership-breaking best again, accounting for top scorers Muchall and Collingwood while Ansari also bowled six good overs of his left arm spin.
Meaker and Dernbach returned at the end to finish the job, as Durham's innings petered out. While the start to the Championship hasn't been convincing, we are a fearsome prospect in limited overs cricket. The batting hasn't yet fired on all cylinders but someone has always stood up to the task. There is a great deal of variety (and no little quality) in our bowling attack and we are a match for any side in the country when it comes to fielding. The campaign to retain our CB40 title continues apace, and we're looking as strong as ever.