Thursday, 14 June 2012

Surrey demolish Middlesex despite top order travails

Two games in to the Twenty20, Surrey have registered two excellent wins after following up last night's back-from-the-dead win against Essex with another fine comeback at Lord's. 

Rory Hamilton-Brown won the toss and again chose to bat but Surrey's top order batsmen had a shocking time of it. Having stumbled to 31-3 last night they went one better tonight reaching 32-4 before a rain break threatened to derail the entire match. A Duckworth-Lewis chase at that point would've been an absolute doddle for Middlesex.

After coming back on, off and on again because of rain though Middlesex failed to capitalise on their position. Gary Wilson and Matthew Spriegel began to build a fine fifth wicket partnership, in fact it was the finest of fifth wicket partnerships, equalling the domestic Twenty20 record. They played incredibly intelligent cricket, knocking it around for singles and picking off the bad ball for a boundary. In short they did exactly what our top order batters haven't done enough this season - they played the situation to perfection.

Two of the more unheralded players in the Surrey squad, they both reached their high scores in T20 cricket and the top order had Gary Wilson to thank for bailing them out once more, as he did yesterday evening. From having Surrey on the ropes at 32-4 Middlesex were suddenly staring down the barrel of chasing a 150 run total. Another failure for the top order is a massive disappointment, the phrase "Jason Roy can't believe he's just done that" is now becoming an all too familiar refrain for BBC commentator Mark Church. And his top order colleagues don't have much to write home about, Zander de Bruyn's position must come into question soon.

Just like Essex before them Middlesex raced out of the blocks despite losing Joe Denly early. They made it to 64-1 in the eighth over before an almighty collapse. In the next eight overs they lost seven wickets for the addition of just 35 runs before rain forced an early conclusion.

Again it was the post-powerplay spin which won the day for Surrey. Gareth Batty was again absolutely crucial. His unerringly accurate off-spin was too much for Malan and Stirling, the innings top scorers, he then also accounted for Rogers and Berg as he finished with superb figures of 4-13.

Despite still looking a batsman light Surrey again batted intelligently to get a more than respectable total. They then backed it up with more high quality, accurate bowling to strangle all the life out of the opposition's innings. With Tom Maynard still to come in to this side, and Chris Tremlett on the sidelines, we are looking in a strong position in the group already. On to Beckenham to face Kent on Sunday and Adams' men will want to keep the momentum going.

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