Thursday, 5 July 2012

Disappointing Twenty20 campaign continues

Surrey crashed to their lowest all-out total in Twenty20 cricket tonight as Kent humbled them with a 48 run victory. It was a sixth consecutive defeat, although tonight there were more reasons for optimism than might be immediately apparent - almost exclusively in the bowling department.

Gareth Batty won the toss and, correctly in my view, elected to bowl first. He chose to bowl spin at both ends, opening with Kartik and Spriegel. It paid off as Northeast skied a catch to a tumbling Kevin Pietersen off the last ball of Spriegel's first over.

Dirk Nannes, preferred to Stuart Meaker, started much more like the Nannes of old, although he offered a touch of width in his second over and was punished. Chris Tremlett immediately settled just short of a length and was rewarded with the thin edge of Billings' bat through to the keeper.

Surrey's bowlers continued to chip away, two wickets fell to Zafar Ansari and he probably could've had a couple more. Tremlett returned late in the innings and bowled a much fuller length but was still difficult to get away. Nannes, in contrast, claimed two wickets with short deliveries. It was a good team bowling effort, Batty continued his good form in four overs which gave the batsmen very little, though he didn't pick up a wicket.

Kent's final total of 136 looked below par, and even with a batting lineup very short of form it should have been a gettable total. Again though, that was not to be as a poor start got worse. Pietersen, a couple of balls after scoring his first boundary of the 2012 Twenty20 campaign, was leg before to a good Mark Davies delivery.

Jason Roy was the next to go as he moved across his stumps and was bowled by Azhar Mahmood. He looks all at sea at the moment, it must be an incredibly tough time for the bloke. I had thought before the upheaval of the last few weeks that Roy needed an arm round the shoulder, that appears now more true than ever. Jason, none of this is your fault, you're in a bad patch of form but you're still a star and will be for a long time to come.

Rory Burns, who looked so composed on Tuesday and was promoted to number four, played a pretty poor shot leaving the side 18-3. Davies fell on the same score edging behind off Mahmood. De Bruyn and Ansari managed to steady the ship somewhat, but it was all too steady as the required rate climbed inexorably. Kent were bowling well and are a far better fielding side than the one we lost to last year.

By the time Ansari was clean bowled by Stevens the game was, in reality, long gone. Kartik was run out without facing and de Bruyn followed soon after, stumped off Adam Riley. Spriegel, Batty, Tremlett and Nannes were never likely to rescue the situation, despite some lusty biffing from the skipper.

The side seems to be at a very low ebb at the moment, which is entirely understandable in the circumstances. Adams has an enormous job on his hands with a side that is in something of a transition in the middle of a season. The batting is very poor at the moment and, in truth, it has been for much of this season. You get the feeling one special performance might turn things around, but so deep is the rut that they are in, its hard to see where that is going to come from. Tomorrow sees the visit of Middlesex to the Oval, a fine fixture to rediscover a bit of form.


miltonkeynesman said...

Josh - when everything is taken into account it must still be very difficult for some of the guys to be fully focussed. From where I was sitting at square leg that batting show was pretty inept. They needed a steady start towards a not considerable total with not the most hostile of bowling attacks against them. The first four wickets were not hard won by Kent in my view...

Interesting that Ramprakash says he was told that he is not part of the plans now, so would not have been selected again this year. It looks like the youngsters are going to be given a go in the second half of the season. Brave stuff and to be saluted, although if it was my choice and given the skipper's absence for a while I would have liked to have kept Ramprakash as an option.

There is of course no happy ending available here and I just hope it doesnt become very dire.

Good luck to the lads !

GreenJJ said...

Yes of course, but to pretend the batting woes are confined to the last few weeks is dangerous, we have to acknowledge that this is about more than just focus in at the immediate (very trying) time.

I am surprised that Ramps was told he was completely surplus to requirements, if indeed that it the conversation that took place. In the circumstances, he could've been asked to hang about and support the staff. Quite apart from that, the man deserves a bit more respect! It will be interesting to see how the youngsters get on, though I'm not so sure its a brave call, Adams has been left with little choice! I think if not a club in 'turmoil', we're not a million miles from it.

miltonkeynesman said...

Josh - I've only gleaned the Ramprakash situation from the Cricinfo website - he is reported as saying that he would not be selected, hence the immediate announcement (which in other circumstances might be construed as rather poor timing).

I agree, all year the batting hasnt been good enough. They are in Div1 now and as you pointed out a while ago they really need a settled opening pair and the rest to be sure of their responsibilities.

On a positive note, Tremlett looked good and Pietersen can at least catch. To slip back to the critical though, a batsman of his calibre ought to have been able to defend the ball that dismissed him.


GreenJJ said...

I agree, it was a decent delivery but Davies is no more than medium these days I'd have thought. Trem did look good, his first spell was a reminder of how dangerous he can be.

I am very confused by the Ramps situation to be honest, I don't know the full story, but at the moment the whole thing leaves a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth. He was such a great servant to the club, he deserved a better send off.

Rob D. said...

"lusty biffing" - LOL!