Thursday, 5 July 2012

Adams sticks to his guns for visit of Kent

With hope of progression in the Twenty20 now completely extinguished for Surrey, a Kent side who can still make the latter stages come to the Oval this evening.

Adams has stuck with the same 12 names as he picked for Tuesday's game. The squad and possible XI is as follows:

Steven Davies
Jason Roy
Kevin Pietersen
Zafar Ansari
Rory Burns
Zander de Bruyn
Matthew Spriegel
Gareth Batty
Murali Kartik
Stuart Meaker
Chris Tremlett

12th man: Dirk Nannes
After his horror show performance on Tuesday, where his two overs disappeared for 34 runs, Dirk Nannes should make way. He simply has not performed to the level we saw last season, one wicket for 129 runs, and an economy rate of almost 10 runs an over is not what you expect from your overseas strike bowler. Chris Tremlett will hopefully return to the side in preparation for Championship cricket next week.

Zander de Bruyn is almost certain to play again despite a strike rate of only 76 in five Twenty20 matches this season. In fact three of our top order batsmen, Pietersen, Spriegel and de Bruyn himself have a combined strike rate of just 83. Thank goodness Steven Davies has been rollicking along at 150. Jason Roy, who has also been struggling for runs lately, will probably retain his spot at the top of the order, though I personally think he could benefit from being shifted down. Rory Burns came in at number seven on Tuesday and looked at least one, probably two places too low in the order. I had wondered if Mark Ramprakash would be afforded one last hurrah at the Oval, and maybe he still will tomorrow, though it seems unlikely at this stage.

Gareth Batty has been our stand-out bowler in the T20 this year with 10 wickets. His economy rate is truly impressive, giving away just 4.6 runs an over, none of the other top 15 leading wicket takers in the country come within a run of him.

Kent, who we've developed a bit of a habit of losing to in Twenty20 of late, need a win to have any hope of progression. They have some in form batsmen in the shape of Northeast, Billings and the evergreen Stevens, all averaging 30+ this season. Their bowling has been less impressive but in Davies they have a bowler who can keep things quiet with Ball, Tredwell and Mahmood to attack and take wickets.

What is essential tonight is a more stable platform. Top order collapses have become the norm, so even if it means a very quiet opening, preserving wickets should be the aim this evening. The weather should hold out, and perhaps for some the funeral of Tom Maynard yesterday will have been an emotional but cathartic ordeal. It will still be a while before things get back to normal, whatever that is, for the players, but going out tonight to show what they're made of would be a great start.

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