Monday, 27 May 2013

Super Solanki secures routine win

Some brave hitting late in the day for Scotland was not enough to keep a strong Surrey performance from overwhelming them as the visitors secured their second win of the season.

Gareth Batty won the toss in Edinburgh and chose to give his batsmen the task of setting a target. The first 11 balls of the Surrey innings disappeared for 18 runs with a boundary for Davies and two for Roy. However the 12th ball accounted for Jason Roy to leave Surrey 18-1. His dismissal against Lancashire precipitated a horrible collapse but today Solanki joined Davies and put on the partnership that defined the innings.

The two ex-Worcestershire batsmen put on 119 runs together at close to six an over and when they were parted with the score on 137 Surrey had the perfect platform to launch an assault in the last 17 overs. When Davies departed Solanki was well set on 67, but two factors combined to put the brakes on Surrey's innings. First de Bruyn came to the crease and slowed proceedings to a crawl. Second, Solanki was largely starved of the strike. In the final 17 overs of the Surrey innings Solanki faced just 37 balls. 

Solanki did though move to the first hundred of his Surrey career, reaching the mark with a six, and he would end the innings 109 not out. De Bruyn meanwhile plodded to 11 from 35 deliveries before being bowled backing away to a Goudie delivery in the first over of the batting powerplay. It was probably a blessing in disguise for the Surrey innings, against the better sides we can't afford to have his go-slow batting creating pressure for the other batsmen.

Gary Wilson and Tom Jewell struck 34 off 28 deliveries between them to give the innings a bit of gloss. Scotland would require 238 from their 40 overs. Dernbach and Lewis started in the perfect fashion, giving the batsmen nothing and after the opening five overs Scotland had just 12 runs on the board. As the pressure built the Scotland opener Cross tried to up the pace only to be clean bowled off the bowling of Lewis.

Scotland then proceeded to lose wickets at regular intervals as first Tremlett and then Keedy took a brace of wickets, and Wilson effected a run out to leave the home side six down with 118 runs on the board. The required rate was heading rapidly toward nine runs per over and Scotland were sinking fast. However Callum Macleod and Majid Haq put together a fine partnership, it was not a partnership that ever threatened to take Scotland over the line, but it was a fine effort nonetheless.

Gordon Goudie's 15 runs from six deliveries gave them just a glimmer of hope, but when he and Macleod fell in consecutive overs (Macleod for a very good 59 from 60 balls) the game was all but over. Jon Lewis' excellent final over sealed the deal for Surrey who came out on top by 14 runs.

The margin should have been much greater really. De Bruyn's innings, which brought with it a period of 10 overs for 28 runs, probably lopped 20-30 runs off the total and meant that the men in after him, Wilson and Jewell, had to look to hit out from ball one. In a group where qualification may well come down to a net run rate calculation, we can't afford that kind of innings. De Bruyn's form is now way beyond the point of it being a blip, it is a sustained slump. It is time to back Tom Jewell with the ball and Zafar Ansari (when available) with the bat in this format. That Jewell wasn't given a single over today, while de Bruyn bowled his full quota of eight overs, beggars belief if you ask me.

The manner of the win might not have been convincing, but it was a win nonetheless. It keeps us firmly in the hunt in the YB40 where we now sit three points behind Hampshire with a game in hand over the group leaders. Another win on Wednesday, away to Derbyshire, and we might begin to create some of that much needed momentum.

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