Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Surrey pull another rabbit out of another hat

Surrey's 2012 Twenty20 got off to a winning start thanks to another magnificent performance from the bowlers. In the end, the 17 run margin flattered Essex slightly in a match that ebbed and flowed, unusually so for a match in the shortest format.

Chris Adams elected to field a spin-heavy side and if I'm honest, I didn't think it was the right route to go. That method works in CB40, where the batsmen have more time to build an innings. But to go into a T20 with only five specialist batsmen smacked of suicide.

Once again, Adams proved himself a better coach than I. Although our batting was below par and perhaps the failure of the top four was down to the pressure they were under, we scrapped and scraped our way to a competitive total.

The Davies/Hamilton-Brown pairing was restored at the top of the order, and Davies was off to a flyer with 19 from 12, before walking past one from Phillips and getting stumped. Much then relied on Roy and the captain, but neither were able to capitalise. Hamilton-Brown skied one having gotten away with a similar shot the ball before, and de Bruyn was yorked by an excellent Graham Napier delivery. 

Roy played a frustratingly injudicious shot off Masters' bowling and Spriegel was bowled by a fiddly ten Doeschate delivery to leave us tottering at 68-5. But Gary Wilson, playing the situation and the pitch perfectly and in concert with Ansari and Kartik managed to drag us up to respectability. 128 looked below par, but neither did the pitch appear very easy to score on.

You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise considering the start of the Essex innings as they raced to 44-0 in the 5th over. But the Surrey bowlers never allowed them to truly get away, their was always a sniff and once an opening was prised, we seized on the opportunity.

Relentless overs of spin from the aforementioned Kartik, Spriegel and Ansari put the brakes on and Gareth Batty did the real damage. He returned figures of 3 for 20, including the key wickets of Shah and Bopara, he gave the batsmen absolutely nothing. All the spinners bowled full of length, with little room for error, and they were very impressive in doing so.

The Essex tailenders were left with far too much to do and Surrey ran out comfortable winners. I still think another batsmen wouldn't go amiss but if Maynard is fit tomorrow, I believe he should come in for the out of form de Bruyn. Wilson deserves to keep his place in the side.

Middlesex tomorrow will present another major threat. Their batting, with T20 dangermen like Stirling and Morgan, will be hard to keep quiet and they have a fine selection of limited overs bowlers.

But the Twenty20 campaign is off to the best possible start and hats off to RHB's troops for an excellent fighting performance. The side won't be the same tomorrow, but we will face the auld enemy at the Home of Cricket in very high spirits.


Murdoch MacDonald said...

Nail-biting stuff, even from 400 miles away. Excellent report, as always, for which many thanks.

GreenJJ said...

It was indeed nail biting, even with 8 down, when Phillips hit that six there were still some nerves! Got there in the end though!

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