Surrey's CB40 winning streak continued in Cardiff today as they beat the odds to defend a small total. Glamorgan won the toss and put Surrey in to bat under cloudy skies and with rain looking likely.
Jason Roy came in and looked fidgety, he did manage to hit an absurdly massive six into the trees outside the ground before he fell to Simon Jones. There then followed a suffocating spell from Jim Allenby and Dean Cosker who between them bowled 16 overs for 43 runs and took three wickets. All told, after a bombastic start which saw the first 7 overs return 59-1 for Surrey, in the next 33 overs we scored only 113 runs for the lost of 8 more wickets. Steven Davies, who ended with 58 excellent runs from just 48 balls, was the only batsman who played with any fluency.
It was in the face of some good Glamorgan bowling though, and not just from Cosker and Allenby. Jones, Owen and Glover returned late in the innings and even with a powerplay in hand Surrey were not allowed to motor at any stage. In the last five overs de Bruyn, the set batsman, faced 14 deliveries but only managed 8 runs, and no boundaries. It was an exercise in clinging on and without him we'd have been in deep trouble, but he's still not at his very best.
The target for Glamorgan then was 174, not big by any means but Surrey knew that once the hardness of the new ball was gone scoring would be tough. With experienced campaigners like Marcus North and Martin van Jaarsveld in the opposition lineup early wickets were crucial, and Surrey's fine bowling attack delivered just that.
Jade Dernbach started untypically offering a bit of width to the batsmen but in his second over he sent down a fine ball to take a thin edge from Walters' bat. After an initial over from Meaker, Jon Lewis came into the attack and replicated the fine job of Allenby, bowling his first five overs for just nine runs, and picked up the key wicket of van Jaarsveld in the process.
The pressure then was on Marcus North, with Gareth Rees struggling to score at the other end. It wasn't to be for North though as he was bowled by Spriegel's second ball as he came into the attack to replace an the injured Zander de Bruyn. Murali Kartik was given his first over for Surrey soon after and it took him just two balls to make an impact as he put Rees out of his misery, he was LBW for 12 from 38 deliveries.
Kartik continued an excellent start as he tossed one up and clean bowled Wallace who was looking to slog sweep. Hamilton-Brown shuffled his bowlers around well, though I was surprised at the number of overs of pace that were bowled with five wickets falling to spin, and with so many tweakers in the side - Gareth Batty didn't bowl a single ball, and Spriegel finished with very odd figures of 0.2-0-0-1.
Kartik added another couple of wickets but was denied a five-for by the rain in Cardiff, the players went off with the score on 107-9, Glamorgan 55 short of the Duckworth-Lewis par. In reality, Surrey were on top right from the word go, we bowled accurately and fielded quite superbly, it was a master-class in defending a(nother) small total.
If I was to nit-pick, I'd suggest that some of the batsmen need to look at the shots they played to get out, but de Bruyn and particularly Davies dug them out of a hole. Davies' innings stands out - while he scored 58 at a strike rate of 120, everyone else combined scored 253 at a strike rate of 72.
Four wins from four then, and the start to Murali Kartik's Surrey career will give Adams particular cheer. Tomorrow, if the weather holds off, his side return to the Oval to face Hampshire which will be a real test of their mettle - they'll want a lot more than 172 to defend against that lot. Experience this season might just lead Hamilton-Brown to believe this side can defend almost any total though, our bowling is relentless and the fielding is razor sharp. In the CB40 we are a seriously strong unit.