Sunday, 15 July 2012

Poor batting costs Surrey dear

Surrey suffered their first CB40 defeat of 2012 at Guildford today as Nottinghamshire ran out comfortable winners by five wickets with 57 balls remaining. It was Surrey's first defeat in this format since losing to Durham in August 2011.

In truth it could have been an awful lot worse. You know those five specialist batsmen Adams named in the squad? After 19 balls of the Surrey innings they'd all been dismissed and we were floundering at 8-5. Not unfamiliar territory given that just last month we were 9-4 at the Rose Bowl, but still another shockingly poor effort from the top order. There was a bit of bounce generated by the Nottinghamshire opening bowlers but equally there was some very poor shot selection.

Surrey's record low 40 over total of 63 looked in serious danger, and the record low 40 over total in history (Middlesex's 23 in 1974) wasn't out of the question. However there was a mini recovery from Spriegel and Ansari who put on 38 until the latter got a leading edge off Jake Ball. He'll be disappointed at getting out when he did, having ground out 16 runs from 48 balls.

Ansari's dismissal brought captain Batty to the crease and he and Spriegel continued the recovery putting on 43, the highest partnership of the innings. They were threatening a total around the 150 mark before Batty succumbed, caught behind of Gurney. Jon Lewis characteristically hammered a few boundaries in a quickfire 16 but Surrey could only struggle to 123 all out, failing to see out 34 overs of their innings.

Murali Kartik was the last man out, tamely flicking to short fine leg four balls into the batting powerplay which was called bizarrely late with the final pair at the crease. Only Spriegel, who top scored with 39 can claim any credit. Nottinghamshire's opening seam bowlers Gurney and Pattinson ended the day with combined figures of 7-49 off 13 overs.

For a side with their batting talents to call on a target of 124 was never going to be terribly threatening for Notts, especially on a small ground. Spriegel, opening the bowling, continued his sterling work as he reeled off 8 overs for just 20 runs and didn't give up a boundary until the 47th ball he bowled. It would've taken four similar efforts to give Notts anything like a scare, but there just wasn't the kind of scoreboard pressure that can start the nerves jangling.

When Hales hooked Meaker to Rory Burns it was 39-2, but with James Taylor at the crease the result never really looked in doubt. The required rate didn't dip below three an over, the bowling (one Stuart Meaker over which went for 20 runs) was dogged and a flurry of wickets fell late in the day as Notts stumbled from 96-2 to 105-5, but there were simply nowhere near enough runs on the board.

The shortage of batting, in the absence of Pietersen, has been badly exposed today. Adams yesterday signalled his intent to begin a recruitment drive, and on the evidence of today you'd have to say he's not wrong to do so.

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