Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Surrey crash to another heavy defeat

Sussex lived up to their reputation as competition favourites on another rainy night in London as they comprehensively out batted and out bowled Surrey to record a comfortable six wicket win, and secure their own progression in the tournament.

Steven Davies began the innings in frantic fashion again, picking up where he left off last night, taking 18 off Luke Wright's first over. Jason Roy also began in the same way as last night unfortunately, he didn't look fluent and was out, caught at mid on, trying to force the issue off Mike Yardy's left arm darts.

Davies followed soon after, upper cutting Chris Liddle's first ball to third man as Surrey wasted another rapid start. For once Zafar Ansari was not to prove saviour as he was out cheaply leaving Surrey tottering, again, at 32-3.

Pietersen and de Bruyn looked to consolidate and played out a turgid 14 run partnership off 20 balls. They were at least sticking in though. That is until leg spinner Will Beer came on as Pietersen obligingly lofted his third ball, a rank long hop, to long on. Matt Spriegel played out 12 balls for his 9 runs and his was perhaps the ugliest of all, backing away he was cleaned up by left arm chinaman bowler Michael Rippon. There were no devils in the pitch, this was just poor cricket from the home side.

Zander de Bruyn and Rory Burns then began to tick the score over nicely. De Bruyn was still struggling for fluency but he did resist the temptation to play a daft shot, unlike some of his top order colleagues. Burns looked much better and was very busy at the crease, he played some lovely shots in his 23 from 20 balls. He played a pretty poor one to get out though, helping a short ball from Amjad Khan straight to Styris at fine leg. Very shortly after the rain came and the Surrey batsmen didn't make it back out.

Sussex were set a target of 109 off 15 overs, which didn't look especially challenging in difficult bowling conditions. They set off like a train, Chris Nash hogging the strike and all of the scoring as Surrey's opening bowlers were unable to exert any pressure whatsoever. His dismissal, to Stuart Meaker's first ball, only heaped more pain on Surrey as Matt Prior took a liking to Nannes' second over, which he and Luke Wright hammered for 23 runs. It took Sussex just 22 balls to better Surrey's total of eight boundaries in 16 overs. By the fifth over they had already hammered their way to 68-1, a run rate of almost 14 runs per over.

Another disciplined and intelligent spell of 3-11 from stand-in captain Gareth Batty was never going to be enough to put the Sussex batsmen under any strain and they cantered home with 20 balls to spare. Surrey were never at the races, again.  Adams will have expected more from his overseas duo who in this match returned appalling figures of 0-60 between them while Meaker and Batty combined to take 4-18.

A fifth consecutive defeat then, and a third absolute battering on the bounce puts progression beyond Surrey for 2012, if not mathematically, then realistically. We simply aren't good enough. In defence of the players they are due to depart the Oval this evening for Wales, where they will attend Tom Maynard's funeral tomorrow. Cricket probably wasn't at the forefront of their minds.

It has nonetheless been a crushingly disappointment campaign, and I wonder if Adams should now look to blood some more of the youngsters in the remaining game. Burns showed a glimpse of his talents today, others should perhaps be given that opportunity as well. They can do no worse than some of their more experienced team mates.

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