Saturday, 7 July 2012

Another defeat but vastly improved

A seventh consecutive Twenty20 defeat was doled out by our London rivals last night in a thrilling game which ebbed and flowed. It was a loss alright, but not a demoralising one in the slightest.

Adams added Gary Wilson to the squad from Thursday, he had returned from Ireland duty and he was slotted straight back into the side. Bizarrely this was at the expense of Rory Burns rather than the horribly out of form Zander de Bruyn. This was another in a series of confusing selections from Adams. Not only was de Bruyn unlikely to prove the matchwinner, Burns is a key player in the future of Surrey, something that the 36 year old de Bruyn cannot lay claim to.

Gareth Batty won another toss and contrary to Thursday evening elected to bat first. It looked a good call as they were to play on the same strip as Thursday's game, which took some turn towards the end of that match.

For once we avoided a disastrous start with the bat. Davies and Pietersen played well in forging a 76 run partnership from the first ten overs, creating a formidable platform for the rest. Davies' driving through the off side was particularly impressive as the pair picked off the bad balls and ran sensible ones and twos.

Davies dismissal, bowled by Smith, brought Jason Roy to the crease. He nudged the ball around for his first 11 runs, from 10 deliveries before cracking the first of three straight sixes. It had become a signature shot for Roy before his recent run of poor form, and it was a delight to see him dishing it out again. He went on to make 40 from 26 deliveries, hopefully signalling a return towards something like his best form.

Pietersen continued to pick off runs but his dismissal came at precisely the wrong moment. He was caught behind off the part time bowling of Dawid Malan just as he and Roy were looking to hit the gas. His dismissal turned what could've been a daunting 175-180 total into an eventual total of 154. Still, it was a massive improvement on what had gone before.

The bowlers started poorly, or rather Nannes and Kartik did, with 35 runs leaking from their first two overs. To be fair to them, it wasn't always terrible bowling but some good aggressive placement from Neil Dexter.

As always seems to be the case Surrey pulled matters back towards themselves once the powerplays were over as Middlesex fell from 51-1 to 70-4. When Gareth Berg fell to Kartik, leaving them 106-7 the game looked to be Surrey's for the taking, but a very cool partnership between Ollies Rayner and Wilkin, the latter just 20 years old, took Middlesex to the brink of victory.

Gareth Batty, perhaps nervous about going back to Nannes early, chose to give de Bruyn the crucial 18th over to bowl and he did not deliver the goods. One horrible full toss and one limp short ball were dispatched to the boundary, leaving just 12 needed from the final two overs.

Chris Tremlett delivered a reasonable over but Rayner and Wilkin were able to pick nine runs from it. That left Dirk Nannes just three to defend in the final over. The wicket first ball of Rayner gave us all hope, as did the run out, by a very intelligent piece of fielding from Batty, of Wilkin two balls later. However, with nine wickets down Tom Smith sent the penultimate ball from Nannes to the boundary giving Middlesex a one wicket win.

Yes is was a defeat, and yes it was to our closest rivals, but there are reasons to be cheerful. This was more like the Surrey of old, there was energy and power with the bat and they were lively in the field. Roy's return was enough to make any Surrey fan smile, and the sight of Pietersen marshalling the troops in the field was good to see. There is still some way to go, but the team did us proud last night.


miltonkeynesman said...

Thanks for the report Josh. Didnt get there last night, but followed it on Radio Church. At least I got to see Murray play if only on TV !

A win would have been nice, but a super game for the crowd. Interesting that Surrey reckon a lot of the people there last night were a different group from those on Thursday. The original idea of 3home games in 4 days was nuts for regulars, particularly with the ODI in there too - and a hostage to a poor weather spell! Not sure what the overall answer is but if sticking to something similar to this year they do need to spread the home games better. I also reckon they need to refresh all the razzmatazz - it's getting a bit stale to these eyes & ears. The drawn out rigmarole around umpiring referrals is complete b*ll*cks.

Some criticism of Nannes from some over the series, but even with spectacular 20/20 hindsight I think it was a reasonable call to recruit him.

I do think Surry would benefit from a clear statement from the club or Adams as to the way forward for the rest of the season and as open a comment as possible on the Ramprakash and skipper situations.

Onwards and upwards we go.

Thanks again for the blog.

Will said...

While as a Middlesex fan I was obviously delighted to see us win a closely-fought game, I must say that I was impressed all round by Surrey's performance yesterday. It has clearly been an immensely tough time for everyone at the club, but the fight and determination of the players to give their all for the shirt was a credit to the club. Your boys were also dignified in defeat as well (something that can't be said about Middlesex's official reaction on Twitter), and while the result didn't go their way, I'm sure there will be many Surrey fans who are proud with their team's efforts today. Putting rivalries and everything aside, it would have been great to see Surrey win yesterday given everything that's happened over recent weeks, and I genuinely hope that your season doesn't spiral out of control from here - for Tom's sake if anything else. Good luck for the rest of the season (apart from the four-day game against us at the Oval in August!)

GreenJJ said...

MKM - I agree about the scheduling, and to Gould's credit he did say it was bonkers at the time. Totally clueless bit of work that was. I think the 'razzamatazz' has to be spontaneous, atmosphere always is, I think they try to hard to manufacture it. Get the crowd in, the atmosphere will follow without too much external influence (except beer...needs a bit of that!). Also agree about a statement on Ramps, the situation as is is entirely unsatisfactory to say the least.

Will - that's very gracious of you, not that I'm surprised (assuming this is the Will I think it is!). I thought the fans were excellent, on both sides last night. The official Twitter response from Middx was crass in the extreme, but we all make mistakes! I have to say I get very little grief from you lot on Twitter, I enjoy the chat I have with Middlesex fans. The players will never be able to move on, they'll be reminded of Tom every time they go out and play, but over time the rawness will fade and it'll get easier for them. I think a healthy dose of realism is needed for the rest of the season, it'll be very hard to survive in D1 now, we're in a bit of turmoil - but things were hardly rosey before Tom's death. Like you say, hope it doesn't spiral downwards, and we beat you!

Rob D. said...

Will - nice words mate...thank you, appreciated.

It has obviously been a difficult time but I was hugely impressed by what I saw from both teams (to be fair). Regarding Surrey, I wonder whether Tom's funeral has proved the cathartic point from which we can now move on? It seemed that way last night - a much improved performance from the night before (not difficult, I know)

The Guildford festival now looms HUGE for the rest of our season. Win the championship match and the CB40 vs Notts and suddenly things will look a whole lot different.

GreenJJ said...

Rob - maybe it will prove to be a cathartic point. But I also think it might just show how important a player a firing Jason Roy is to us. He's so electric in the field when he's at his best, I think the other players feed off that. Or maybe I just have a massive soft spot for Jason.

Very big game next week, I don't think its going to far to say it could make or break our season.