Sunday, 30 September 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: Day 12 Round Up

Watson fires Aussies into Semi’s

30/9/12-Australia 147-2 17.4 overs (Watson 70) beat South Africa 146-5 20 overs (Doherty 3-20) by 8 wickets @ Colombo

Australia have qualified for the Semi Finals of the ICC World Twenty 20, after beating South  Africa by 8 wickets in Colombo.

George Bailey won the toss and stuck South Africa in to bat, which immediately looked to be the correct decision. Xavier Doherty was brought back into the side and bowled Levi in the first over, before having Kallis caught in the 3rd. The star man of the tournament, Shane Watson, then had the danger man Amla caught behind, as South Africa were struggling against the variety of the Aussie attack. de Villiers and Duminy also couldn’t get going, but thanks to 54 from the final 5 overs, South Africa managed to reach 147-5 off their 20 overs, with Robin Peterson top scoring with a 19-ball 32.

Australia lost David Warner early, when Morne Morkel bowled him for 5, but as long as Watson was at the crease, they always looked comfortable. He raced to his 3rd half century of the tournament, coming off 35 balls, becoming the leading run scorer in the competition in the process. He couldn’t see his side fully home though, as he was caught at long off for 70, but the job had already been done. Mike Hussey struck an unbeaten 45, as Australia completed a comfortable victory.

Another convincing win for the Aussies, and they really are looking one of the stronger teams in the tournament. South Africa on the other hand, tipped by many before the competition began, are all but out, and needed India to beat Pakistan in the later game to stand any chance of getting through.

Man of the Match: Shane Watson for his 70 and 2-29. What more can you say about Shane Watson. He is the leading run scorer in the competition, the leading wicket taker, and has hit the most sixes out of anyone, and this is his 4th Man of the Match award out of 4 games.

Kohli eases India past Pakistan

30/9/12-India 129-2 17 overs (Kohli 74*) beat Pakistan 128 all out 19.4 overs (Balaji 3-22) by 8 wickets @ Colombo

India have kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Semi Finals of the ICC World Twenty 20, after easing to victory over Pakistan.

Mohammad Hafeez won the toss and elected to bat first, but as it was for South Africa, run scoring was proving difficult. The Pakistani top order has already fired a few times in the tournament, but today it didn’t, as Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal failed to make double figures, and the skipper fell for a 28 ball 15. Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal added some much needed impetus to the innings, but the damage was already done by India, as Pakistan were eventually all out in the 20th over for 128, with Ashwin and Yuvraj both claiming 2 victims.

Despite losing Gautam Gambhir in the first over, the Indians didn’t look in any trouble as they hunted down the Pakistani score. Virendar Sehwag found some sort of form, but wasn’t anywhere near his fluent best in 24 ball 29. But it was India’s star man of the last year, Virat Kohli, who led his side to a comfortable victory inside 17 overs, scoring an unbeaten 78 with 8 fours and 2 sixes.

A very good win for India, and they have now given themselves a good chance of qualifying for the Semi Finals. Pakistan cannot string two consistent performances together, which hopefully means for them that they will win their final game against Australia.

Man of the Match: Virat Kohli for his unbeaten 74. Looks a fantastic talent, and has had a superb 2012.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 11 Round Up

Wright destroys New Zealand

29/9/12- England 149-4 18.5 overs (Wright 76) beat New Zealand 148-6 20 overs (Franklin 50, Finn 3-16)

England have kept alive their hopes of retaining the ICC World T20, by beating New Zealand by 6 wickets.

Ross Taylor elected to bat first, but lost Guptill and danger man Brendon McCullum inside the opening 4 overs. They struggled to get the innings going, as they lost wickets at a regular pace. It was the Essex all rounder James Franklin who added much needed impetus to the innings, taking his side to a competitive score. He scored 50 off 33 balls, as the Kiwis posted 148-6.

England lost the out of form Kieswetter early, and Hales not long after, as the batsman were once again looking weak against spin. However, Luke Wright was at his explosive best, and he and Morgan put on a partnership that won England the game, with Wright clearing the ropes 5 times overall. The pair couldn't see their side home, but England won with 7 balls remaining.

A very professional performance from England today, and will now have to repeat that against Sri Lanka on Monday, where a victory should see them through.

Man of the Match: Luke Wright for his 44 ball 76. A superb knock again from the Sussex man, and if he can continue in this form, then he can fill the void left by Pietersen.

Sri Lanka ease passed West Indies

29/9/12- Sri Lanka 130-1 15.2 overs (Jayawardene 65*) beat West Indies 129-5 20 overs (Samuels 50) by 9 wickets @ Pallekele

Sri Lanka are closing in on a Semi Final spot in the ICC World Twenty 20, after comfortably beating the West Indies in Pallekele.

After choosing to bat first, the West Indies lost England’s nemesis from the other day, Johnson Charles, and the star man Chris Gayle in the space of 3 balls, and a rebuilding job was needed. That was provided from Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, as they put on a 65 run partnership in just over 9 overs. However, just as they set a platform for which they could have launched an assault towards the end of the innings, Bravo was dismissed, and they could only post 129-5 off their 20 overs.

Sri Lanka never looked in trouble in their response, even though they lost the Man of the Match from the previous game, Dilshan, inside the first few overs. The experienced pair of Jayawardene and Sangakarra built a partnership like they have done many times over the years, as they raced to their target inside 16 overs, with Jaywardene unbeaten on 65.

The margin of victory for Sri Lanka leaves them with a superior run rate to the other teams in the group, and even if they lose to England on Monday, it’s still likely that they will qualify for the Semi Final. West Indies now need to beat the now knocked-out New Zealand on Monday to stand any chance of going through, and win well, as their net run rate is inferior to that of England.

Man of the Match: Mahela Jaywardene for his unbeaten 65. His innings oozed with class throughout, including 10 fours and a six, showing why he is one of the greatest batsman too have ever put on the Sri Lankan shirt.

Friday, 28 September 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: Day 10 Round Up

Gul blasts Pakistan to victory over SA

28/9/12- Pakistan 136-8 19.4 overs (U Akmal 43*, Steyn 3-22) beat South Africa 133-6 20 overs (Duminy 48) by 2 wickets @ Colombo

Pakistan have beaten South Africa by 2 wickets in the respective teams opening game of the Super 8’s, thanks largely to an unlikely source with the bat.

AB de Villiers chose to bat first, but lost Amla, Levi and Kallis early, and runs were seemingly hard to come by. The skipper and JP Duminy began to rebuild the innings after Behardien was then dismissed, taking their side over 100 in the 17th over. However, de Villiers couldn’t see out the 20 overs, and former Surrey all rounder Yasir Arafat removed Duminy, as the South Africans could only muster a below par effort of 133-6.

 Pakistan knew that if they batted anywhere near the way they have been in the last few games, the target of 134 would have been a stroll. However, Pakistan, known for their consistency, quickly fell to 37-4 in the 7th over, with danger men Jamshed and Nazir two of the four out. The innings was falling apart, as Malik and Arafat then went either side of a Shahid Afridi golden duck. Pakistan required 68 off 33 balls with 3 wickets left, and victory seemed to be South Africa’s, but you should never write off Pakistan. Umar Gul, known for his superb death bowling, hit a fantastic innings of 32, including 3 sixes, in a partnership of 49 with Umar Akmal, as Pakistan completed a most unlikely of victories with 2 balls remaining.

South Africa must be wondering what went wrong today. They batting was very below par, and I can’t remember the last time Amla (8) didn’t get to double figures. The victory was stolen out of the palms of their hands today by Pakistan, who will feel extra rejuvenated after that victory, and are a serious contender for the Trophy.

Man of the Match: Umar Gul for his wonderful 17 ball 32. Without him, Pakistan would have struggled to get to 100, and it shows the amount of all round talent that this side has.

Watson and Warner destroy India

28/9/12- Australia 141-1 14.5 overs (Watson 72, Warner 63*) beat India 140-7 20 overs (Watson 3-34) by 9 wickets @ Colombo

Australia have annihilated India by 9 wickets in the Super 8’s at Colombo, after Shane Watson put in another wonderful all-round performance.

After seeing the way the pitch played in the earlier game, MS Dhoni decided he wanted to set a total for the Australians to chase. They lost Gambhir in the 3rd over, and their in form batsman Virat Kohli for just 15, as run scoring was as hard as it was in the Pakistan-South Africa game. They continued to lose wickets at a regular pace, as Yuvraj and Rohit couldn’t add anything substantial, and the highest score was in fact the makeshift opener Pathan, who made 31. Ashwin and Raina took their side to a competitive 140-7 off their 20 overs.

However, Australia made the pitch look like the Oval at its flattest, as Watson continued his fine form of the tournament, and Warner was at his bludgeoning best. They raced towards the Indian score with no real alarms, and the pair were seemingly competing with each other to see who could get their half century first. It was Watson to do so, coming off just 28 balls, including 6 huge sixes and just the one four, followed by Warner’s off 37 with 6 fours and 2 maximums. Watson did get out before the end, but Australia won extremely comfortable with 31 balls to spare.

An exceptional performance from Australia, and they just seem to be getting better and better as the tournament goes on. After beating England well the other day, India will struggle to qualify for the next round as their net run rate has been seriously hampered today.

Man of the Match: Shane Watson for his terrific 72 and 3-34. He is the leading run scorer and wicket getter in the tournament so far, and if Australia go far in the tournament, there won’t be many challenging him for the player of the tournament award.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 9 Round Up

Sri Lanka win Super over thriller

27/9/12- Sri Lanka 174-6 20 overs (Dilshan 76) beat New Zealand 174-7 20 overs (Nicol 58) via the one over eliminator @ Pallekele

Sri Lanka have beaten New Zealand via a Super over, after both sides scored 174 off their 20 overs. New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first, and they got off to a good solid start, reaching 57 before they lost their first wicket. Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor both played cameos, but it was Rob Nicol who played the best innings, scoring 58 off 40 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes. But when he was out in the 16th over, they fell away slightly, finishing on 174-7 from their 20 overs.

It was certainly a good pitch to bat on, and with the way Sri Lanka started, it looked as if New Zealand's score was below par. They reached 68 off the powerplay, the highest score off the opening 6 overs in the tournament so far. Despite losing Jayawardene and Sangakarra, they were still going at 10 an over after 12 overs, but New Zealand managed to pull things back, removing Dilshan for a superb 76 in the penultimate over. With 8 required off the final over, Sri Lanka could only get 7, with a run out off the final ball.

Sri Lanka batted first in the super over, with Jayawardene and Perera scoring 13, before New Zealand could only manage 7 off their over, as Sri Lanka had won in the most dramatic of style.

So Sri Lanka have continued their 100% record in the tournament, and they look very good for the final, but New Zealand’s confidence would have taken a blow after the way they lost, and they will do well to come back fighting against England and the West Indies.

Man of the Match: Dilshan for his fantastic 76.Was at his best today, and without him, Sri Lanka wouldn’t have got near the New Zealand’s score.

Charles and West Indies too good for England

27/9/12- West Indies 179-5 20 overs (Charles 84, Gayle 58) beat England 164-4 20 overs (Morgan 71*, Hales 68) by 15 runs @ Pallekele

The West Indies have beaten England by 15 runs in Pallekele, with Johnson Charles putting in a man of the match performance.

Darren Sammy won the toss and had no hesitation in choosing to bat first. Gayle opened up with Johnson Charles, and it was the former who showed his usual explosion, taking his side over 100 inside 11 overs. He reached his half century from 29 balls, and was taking a particular liking to Samith Patel’s left arm spin. And after Swann removed him, the big hitters kept coming, as Charles passed 50 for the first time in international T20’s. He reached 84 before Jade had him caught, and after some late order hitting, West Indies posted 179-5 off their 20 overs.

It was always going to be a tough task for England, but it was the same ground as the earlier game, so they knew the pitch would hold up well. However, we got off to the worst possible start, losing Kieswetter second ball and Wright third ball of the innings, both to inexcusable shots. Both Hales and Bairstow struggled to score quickly, and Bairstow was next out for 18. The rate required went up above 12, but Hales was still trying, reaching his half century of 37 balls. Morgan was also finding his best touch, reaching his 50 off just 25 balls. However, the ask was too large, and West Indies had won by 15 runs.

A disappointing performance from England then, with some of the bowlers giving away too many, and the terrible start with the bat didn't help. Hales and Morgan put on a great partnership of 107, but we were never in the game, and West Indies won quite comfortably.

Man of the Match: Johnson Charles for his superb 84.Deserved a hundred, but just grew tired towards the end, and a definite star of the future.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

All Rounder Review 2012

It’s been an up and down year for our all-rounders and wicket keepers this year, with some leaving, some having a lean time of it, and some showing some real potential. Here’s my review of how the All-Rounders did in 2012.

Zafar Ansari
LVCC- 234 runs @ 21.27, 0 wickets @ N/A
CB40- 160 runs @ 40.00, 6 wickets @ 24.67
FLT20- 144 runs @ 24.00, 6 wickets @ 28.50
Zafar Ansari continues to impress in all forms of the game with both bat and ball. He has proven to be a vital part of our One Day set up, with the ability to bowl tight overs, as well as hit some quick runs towards the end of the innings. However, 2012 was the first year that he became a LVCC regular, and he and Rory Burns forged a good opening partnership. Even though he didn’t get as many runs as he would have wanted to, one innings shows that he has the mental strength to become an opener, the unbeaten 83 at Edgbaston where he batted all day to save the game was brilliant, and showed that he has a big future in the game.

Zander de Bruyn
LVCC- 709 runs @ 26.25, 6 wickets @ 63.83
CB40- 210 runs @ 26.25, 5 wickets @ 9.60
FLT20- 80 runs @ 16.00, 1 wicket @ 32.00
After scoring nearly 2000 runs for us in his debut season in 2011, I think it is fair to say that Zander de Bruyn has had a very disappointing season. He had a poor campaign for the Highveld Lions in the winter of 2011, and continued that form into our season, just at the time we needed someone with his temperament to fire. He looked horribly out of nick for most of the year, until the final two games of the season, where he hit a pair of 70’s and a century in the final 3 innings. With RHB, Ramps and Spriegel not going to be with us next year, we will need de Bruyn to find some winter form, and come back better next year.

Rory Burns
LVCC- 640 runs @ 42.67
CB40- 35 runs @ 17.50
FLT20- 41 runs @ 13.66
The Banstead wicket-keeper had a fantastic breakthrough season for us, in becoming one of the best openers we have had in 4 day cricket for years. He started the season by scoring his 1st First Class hundred against Leeds-Bradford MCCU, before having a fantastic spell in the Second X1, where he seemed to score centuries at will. When he was brought into the side after the T20, he didn’t get off to the greatest start, by leaving one on his stumps first ball, but after that, he didn’t look back. The 200+ partnership with friend Arun Harinath was superb, ending in Burns completing his first Championship hundred. I feel he will be opening the innings for us for years to come.

Steve Davies
LVCC- 438 runs @ 21.90
CB40- 260 runs @ 23.63
FLT20- 184 runs @ 18.40
Despite being our leading run scorer in the CB40 and T20, Steve Davies had a very poor season by his very good standards. Once again he didn’t get a proper pre-season, as he was just getting net practice with England in the UAE, which if you remember, hampered him at the start of 2011 as well. There is no doubting the man’s talent when on form, but it was a very rare occurrence that he found top form, and he was eventually dropped for the final home game of the season. He has therefore missed out on the tour to India as back up keeper, so I hope he can go away and have a break over the winter, before coming back refreshed for the start of pre season in 2013.

Tom Jewell
LVCC- 70 runs @ 70.00, 1 wicket @ 24.00
Despite consistent performances in the second X1, Tom Jewell failed to break into the first team until the final game of the season. He scored a superb 70 and picked up a wicket, showing what he is capable of, but his contract is now up, so he may want to seek another county.  I personally hope that isn’t the case, and feel that he could become an important part of our side in the coming seasons.

Chris Jordan
LVCC- 10 wickets @ 51.70, 141 runs @ 12.82
CB40- 0 wickets @ N/A
After he made a good end to last season, the Barbadian Chris Jordan failed to build on that, and was released at the end of the season. He started the year opening the batting, which I feel was a terrible decision, as it affected his confidence considerably, which made an impact on the bowling side of his game. It’s disappointing to see CJ leave the Oval, as he showed so much promise when he burst onto the scene in 2007, but injuries didn’t help his cause, as he has so far failed to reach his potential.

Matthew Spriegel
LVCC- 35 runs @ 11.46
CB40- 220 runs @ 27.50, 9 wickets @ 21.11
FLT20- 130 runs @ 21.67, 2 wickets @ 44.50
Ok, the figures may not be fantastic, but Matt Spriegel was a massive part of our team. His off spin in one day cricket was so vital, with him often bowling his 8 overs through from the start for less than 30 runs. His batting as well saved us on many occasions, most notably at Guildford, where he turned 9-5 into something slightly more respectable. But, he wasn’t given enough chances in the Championship, and even though he will always remain a Surrey man at heart, he has decided to move to Northants for first team cricket. Good luck Spriegs, you are always welcome back.

Gary Wilson
LVCC- 182 runs @ 60.67
CB40- 65 runs @ 16.25
FLT20- 182 runs @ 60.67
The Irish wicket-keeper batsman has continued to improve in all forms of cricket, becoming a consistent performer whenever he has been called upon. He had a fantastic T20 campaign for the games that he was available for, and showed he can compete for Davies’ spot in the Championship side, taking part in two valuable partnerships in the game against Notts which confirmed our survival. He had a difficult start to the year with the loss of his mum to cancer, but you wouldn’t have known with the way he played, and I hope that he will still be here next year.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Batsman Review 2012

Overall, it hasn’t been a very good season for us with the bat, has it? Zander de Bruyn, who scored almost less than half the total runs he did last season, was still our leading run getter overall. Steve Davies, who had an incredibly quiet season compared to his usual standards, was still our leading scorer in the CB40 and T20 competitions. However, we all know this season wasn’t like any other season, due to the tragic passing of Tom Maynard in June. Here is my review of the season our batsman had.

Rory Hamilton-Brown
LVCC- 555 runs @ 37.00
CB40- 204 runs @ 25.50
FLT20- 23 runs @ 5.75
Rory had a very good start to the season, passing 50 in each of the first 5 games in the LVCC, scoring one century. He also started the CB40 superbly, scoring a brilliant hundred against Somerset in the opening game, but after close friend Tom Maynard passed away, he relinquished the captaincy and couldn’t rediscover his form. He has now been given permission to talk to other counties, as both parties feel it is the right move for him to seek pastures new. Everyone at Surrey wishes him well in the future.

Arun Harinath
LVCC- 368 runs @ 36.80
After putting in some consistent performances in the Second X1 for the first 4 months of the season, Arun Harinath was brought into the First X1 and was a revelation. He completed his first First Class hundred against Middlesex, in a partnership with Rory Burns, before backing that up by scoring a century in the next game against Somerset. A good season overall for the Baron, and a contract for next year is surely on the cards.

Tom Lancefield
After missing 2011 through injury, Tom didn’t get a game in the First X1 this year, despite our batting woes throughout the campaign. Despite the promise he showed at the back end of 2010, Adams doesn’t see a place for him in our side, and he was released last week.

Tom Maynard
LVCC- 525 runs @ 40.38
CB40- 118 runs @ 39.33
FLT20- 7 runs @ 7.00
Before his untimely death on the 18th of June, Tom had a fantastic start to the season, scoring a century in the second innings at New Road, saving the game after we struggled in the first. He was still our leading scorer in the LVCC until about a month ago, which shows how well he performed. An England selection was destined for Tom, but the ultimate tragedy of his passing mid way through the season, tore a hole through our dressing room. RIP Tom. Gone, but never forgotten.

Kevin Pietersen
LVCC-572 runs @ 95.33
CB40- 54 runs @ 27.00
FLT20- 93 runs @ 23.25
KP had without doubt his best season for Surrey, thanks largely to him retiring from Limited over internationals, and then being dropped for the final Test against South Africa. He played an innings at Guildford that will stick in the memory of Surrey fans for years to come, an unbeaten 234 against Lancashire, with countless balls hit into the car park and Dapdune Wharf. It looks like he will now be named in the India test squad, and therefore a central contract may be given to him, meaning he will remain with us next year.

Mark Ramprakash
LVCC- 107 runs @ 10.70
After a fantastic decade at Surrey, Ramps has hung up his bat with almost 36,000 First Class runs to his name. It wasn’t the way that he, or Surrey fans, would have wanted him to bow out, as he could hardly get the ball of the square in the games that he played. However, he won’t be remembered for that, he will be remembered for the numerous centuries he struck for us and registering Legendary status at the club, as one of the greatest batsman we have ever seen.

Jason Roy
LVCC- 612 runs @ 32.21
CB40- 115 runs @ 12.78
FLT20- 120 runs @ 12.00
After Jason Roy’s great season last year, he fell away quite dramatically in List A cricket, not registering a single half century in the CB40 or T20. However, he did perform well in the Championship, scoring 3 half centuries batting down at 6 or up at 3 in the order. He was a close friend to Tom, and obviously struggled to deal with the unforeseen occurrences of this season, but he will come back better and stronger next season, and will be an important part of our squad for years to come.

ICC World Twenty20: Day 8 Round Up

Pakistan beat Bangladesh to qualify for Super 8’s

25/9/12- Pakistan 178-2 18.4 overs (Nazir 72, Hafeez 45) beat Bangladesh 175-6 20 overs (Shakib 84, Arafat 3-25) by 8 wickets @ Pallekele

Pakistan have beaten Bangladesh in Pallekele by 8 wickets, qualifying for the Super 8’s and knocking the Tigers out in the process.

The Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and elected to bat first, which meant that to qualify for the Super 8’s, they had to win by at least 36 runs which would have put them through ahead of Pakistan on net run rate. Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful got their side off to a quick start, before the latter was bowled in the 4th over with the score on 34. In spite of that wicket, Bangladesh had a very productive powerplay, until on the penultimate ball of it, Shakib al Hasan called Iqbal through for a run, before sending him back, which left him stranded, as Mohammad Hafeez easily ran him out. After a very good start for the Tigers, it was a brainless spell of cricket.

However, the former skipper would end up redeeming himself. He dominated a partnership of 68 with the current captain, going to just his second International Twenty 20 half century, coming off of just 33 balls, as Bangladesh looked to post a competitive score. Former Surrey all rounder Yasir Arafat dismissed Rahim, before Shahid Afridi had Mahmudullah caught second ball, as Pakistan began to pull things back. But Shakib was still going, and after he was out for a wonderful 84 in the final over, his side had posted 175-6 off their 20 overs.

That score meant that Pakistan had two totals to chase. They would obviously try and win the game, as keeping up momentum is key in a T20 tournament, but if they started to struggle, they knew that if they managed to reach 140, then they would be through to the Super 8’s.

And after the start they had, it never looked in doubt. They flew to 64 without loss of their powerplay, the highest score off the opening 6 overs in the tournaments so far, thanks to some wayward bowling from Bangladesh, with one Shafiul Islam over going for 20. Imran Nazir was looking particularly impressive, as he dominated the opening stand with his captain, reaching his 50 off just 25 balls, which was also the quickest of the tournament so far and the second quickest by a Pakistani batsman in Twenty20 Internationals.

He couldn’t see his side home though, as he was caught at long off for a sublime 72, hitting 9 fours and 3 huge sixes overall. But Jamshed and Kamran Akmal did manage to see them through, as Pakistan got to the total required to qualify inside 16 overs, and won the game by 8 wickets in the 19th over.

So a very good win for Pakistan, taking them through to the Super 8’s stage. It is always a hard task to chase down a score as large as 176, whatever opposition you are facing, and they did it fantastically well. It was the largest successful chase by Pakistan in T20 history.  Their batting looks one of the most explosive out of all the teams, but their bowling, especially from the seamers, have let them down so far. The usually superb Umar Gul conceded 43 off just 3 overs, so they will need to rectify that as they will now face arguably 3 of the better teams in the competition in the Super 8’s; India, Australia and South Africa.

Man of the Match: Imran Nazir for his fantastic innings of 72. He looks a very, very dangerous player, and if he continues with this form, he may single handily take Pakistan far in this competition.

Monday, 24 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 7 Round Up

Rain puts West Indies through, Ireland out

24/9/12- Ireland 129-6 20 overs Vs West Indies- Match Abandoned @ Colombo

The West Indies have qualified for the Super 8 stage of the ICC World Twenty20, after their game against Ireland was abandoned, which therefore knocked their opponents out of the competition in the process. With rain showers scheduled throughout the afternoon, Darren Sammy won the toss and elected too field first. His decision looked to have proven correct when Fidel Edwards bowled the Irish skipper Will Porterfield the first ball of the game. It capped off a terrible tournament for the Warwickshire batsman, who was also out first ball against Australia in their opening game of the tournament.

There was then a break for rain, and when the players returned to the middle, Ireland struggled badly. They lost Ed Joyce and danger man Paul Stirling in consecutive overs, and after putting on some sort of recovery with Niall O’Brien, Surrey’s own Gary Wilson was caught behind off Chris Gayle for 21.

The O’Brien brothers both chipped in, but failed to make a big impact on the innings, and only thanks to a couple of big shots from Trent Johnston and Nigel Jones, Ireland reached 129-6 off their 20 overs. A score that was always going to be well below par.

However, heavy and persistent rain then came over the ground, and at 6pm UK time, the game was abandoned, with the West Indies going through to the next stage on Net Run Rate.

A disappointing end for Ireland, who couldn’t repeat their previous success in World tournaments. They have plenty of experienced players, and the top 6 have all had some experience in county cricket, so should be performing better than they did. The West Indies haven’t reached their full potential yet in the competition, as the game against Australia was also rain affected, but if they do reach it, they will be hard to beat.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 6 Round Up

Pakistan too strong for New Zealand

23/9/12- Pakistan 177-6 20 overs (Jamshed 56) beat New Zealand 164-9 20 overs (Nicol 37, Ajmal 4-26) by 13 runs @ Pallekele

Pakistan have beaten New Zealand by 13 runs in Pallekele, thanks to an explosive innings with the bat. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first. After Imran Nazir got them off to a good start, it was over to Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed who put together a partnership of 76 for the second wicket, with Jamshed racing to his half century off just 27 balls. His innings included 4 maximums, and he was showing the form he produced in the IPL earlier this year, before he was caught for 56. Cameos from Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi took Pakistan to 177 from their 20 overs, but New Zealand did well to restrict them to that score, with Tim Southee putting in a good shift with 2 wickets.

Kane Williamson and Rob Nicol gave New Zealand a solid start, before they went in successive overs. They then lost Vettori, the centurion from the other day Brendon McCullum and the experienced Jacob Oram in quick succession, as they struggled to keep up with the rate. Franklin and Ross Taylor were still at the crease but the rate was still too high for them, as New Zealand fell 14 runs short of their target, with England’s nemesis of last winter Ajmal picking up 4 wickets.

A very good performance from Pakistan, and they look good to keep up the record of being the only team to reach the Semi Final stage in all ICC World Twenty 20 events. New Zealand will be disappointed with the way they bowled early in the match, and will be hoping Pakistan beat Bangladesh so that they qualify for the Super 8’s.

Man of the Match: Nasir Jamshed for his explosive innings of 56 which set the Pakistan innings alight.

Rohit and Harbhajan help demolish England

23/9/12- India 170-4 20 overs (Sharma 55) beat England 80 all out 14.3 overs (Harbhajan 4-12) by 90 runs @ Colombo

India have battered in England in Colomno, beating them by 90 runs. England won the toss and after batting first against Afghanistan, they elected to field, with Bresnan in for Patel. After losing experimental opener Irfan Pathan early, Gambhir and Kohli put on a dynamic partnership of 57 to put their side in a good position. However, the pick of the batsman was without doubt Rohit Sharma, who smashed an unbeaten 55 from 33 balls to take his side to 170-4 off the 20 overs, with Jade Dernbach going for 17 in the final over, despite picking up the wicket of MS Dhoni.

England got off to a terrible start, with Hales bowled in the first over. We then lost match winner from the other day, Luke Wright, followed by Eoin Morgan, as England fell behind the rate. Bairstow came and went, and the only man who put up some resistance Kieswetter, fell for a well made 35. England couldn’t cope with the spin of Chawla, and former Surrey bowler Harbhajan, as we were finally bowled out for a record low for us of 80, inside 15 overs.

A very poor performance from England all round. They allowed India to get 10-15 too many, and they suffered the same way they always do in the sub-continent with the bat, against the spin. Only Kieswetter put together any sort of an innings. India, though, were superb in all facets of the game and they will be hard to beat as the competition continues.

Man of the Match: Harbhajan Singh for his 4 wickets for 12 runs. A great performance from Bhaji, proving the doubters wrong, as he was totally unplayable.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 5 Round Up

South Africa beat hosts in rain affected match

22/9/12- South Africa78-4 7 overs(de Villiers 30) beat Sri Lanka 46-5 7 overs (Steyn 2-10) by 32 runs @ Hambantota

South Africa must feel the rain has followed them around or year, but today, it favoured them as they comfortably beat Sri Lanka by 32 runs in Hambantota. The match was reduced to 7 overs a side after heavy rain, and Sri Lanka elected to field first. However, Hashim Amla once again got his side off to a good start, and skipper AB de Villiers played a rapid knock of 30 off 13 balls, as they reached an above par score of 78 off their allotted overs, with a wicket each for Herath, Kulasakera, Malinga and Perera.

Sri Lanka just didn’t get going at all in their innings, as they lost their most powerful batsman Dilshan run out without facing a ball in the first over of the reply. Jayawardene and Sangakarra followed him back to the dugout soon after, as the result was inevitable before even half of the overs had been bowled.

So 2 out of 2 for South Africa, after their win against Zimbabwe on Thursday, and even though this wasn’t a full Twenty20, it is important to have momentum going into the knockout stages of a World competition. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be disappointed that they couldn’t put up a better fight and prove to the doubters that they can perform against the best, but they are also through to the next round, and still have time to impress.

Man of the Match: AB de Villiers for his 30 off 13 balls. He added much needed energy and explosion to the South African innings, and ultimately, won the game for his side.

Aussies through to Super 8’s

22/9/12- Australia 100-1 9.1 overs (Watson 41*) beat West Indies 191-8 20 overs (Gayle 54, Samuels 50, Starc 3-35) by 19 runs (D/L) @ Colombo

Australia have beaten the West Indies by 19 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method in Colombo. Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to bat first. Chris Gayle usually allows himself to get settled at the crease before going berserk, but there was no waiting today, and even though he lost Smith early, he went on an assault of the Australia bowlers. He bludgeoned 4 sixes and 5 fours in his 26 ball fifty, before falling to Watson. It was then over to Marlon Samuels to continue from where Gayle left off, and his innings was as good as Gayle’s containing the same amount of maximums, as the West Indies posted a formidable 191-8 off their 20 overs.

David Warner started superbly for Australia, taking 22 off the second over, but he was then caught behind off Edwards for 28. Watson took over from him though, taking apart the West Indian bowlers, especially Marlon Samuels, who went for 22 of his solitary over. Watson and Hussey took Australia to 100-1 in just the 10th over, which was when the rain came. It didn’t relent, and the Aussies were well past the D/L score.

So back-to-back victories for Australia, and they look a real threat in the competition if Watson can keep up his form at the top of the order. West Indies batted superbly, but there bowling was some what erratic at times, and they will have to improve that in a must win game against Ireland.

Man of the Match: Shane Watson for his unbeaten 41. A second man of the match for Watson in the tournament, and he also picked up 2 wickets in 4 economical overs, proving why he is one of the better all rounder’s in world cricket.

Friday, 21 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 4 Round Up

Record breaking McCullum destroys Tigers

Group C

21/9/12- New Zealand 191-3 20 overs (McCullum 123) beat Bangladesh 132-8 20 overs (Hossain 50, Southee 3-16) by 59 runs @ Pallekele

In the first game between current test playing nations at the tournament, New Zealand have beaten Bangladesh thanks to a record breaking innings from Brendon McCullum. Bangladesh fielded first but soon regretted that decision badly. They had Guptill out early, but from there on in, it was all about McCullum. He bludgeoned the Bangladeshi attack all around the Pallekele Stadium, and they had no answer to it. From the moment he reached his half century, it seemed just minutes later that he was raising his bat yet again, bringing up his second international T20 hundred: the first ever man to complete that feat. He ended up on 123, getting out to the final ball, which was the highest score in a Twenty20 international, with New Zealand setting Bangladesh a formidable 192 for victory.

The Tigers lost 3 quick wickets inside the powerplay, and they never looked like getting anywhere near New Zealand’s total. They continued to lose wickets at a regular pace as the required run rate shot to over 15 relatively quickly. There was one shining light for Bangladesh, with youngster Nasir Hossain scoring a rapid half century, but Bangladesh finished on 132-8, falling 59 runs short.

So a good start to the tournament for New Zealand, and if McCullum can keep up that form, then they will have a good chance of going far in the competition. Bangladesh now must win their final game against Pakistan on Tuesday, if they want to qualify for the Super 8’s.

Man of the Match: Brendon McCullum for his wonderful innings of 123. It included 11 fours and 7 massive sixes, and on his day, he is one of the greatest T20 batsman in the world.

Wright sends Afghanistan packing

Group A 

21/9/12- England 196-5 20 overs (Wright 99*) beat Afghanistan 80 all out 17.2 overs (Naib 44, Broad 2-10) by  116 runs @ Colombo

England are through to the Super 8 stage of the ICC World Twenty20 after beating Afghanistan by 116 runs in Colombo, with Luke Wright scoring a superb unbeaten 99. Afghanistan stuck England in, but like Bangladesh, they soon regretted that. England started slowly with Kieswetter out for 0 in the first over, as we could only reach 15 from the opening 4 overs. However, from there onwards England, and especially Wright, took apart the Afghan bowling. There were contributions from Hales, Morgan and Buttler, but it was all about Luke Wright whose innings contained 8 fours and 6 sixes. England reaching a commanding 196-5 from their 20 overs.

Afghanistan never got going in their innings, losing 2 wickets in their first two overs, with Finn and Surrey’s own Jade Dernbach picking up one each. The skipper then held onto a great catch off his own bowling, played a part in running out Sadiq, and had Stanikzai wonderfully caught at third man by Bairstow, as Afghanistan fell to 22-5 inside 6 overs. It didn’t get any better either, as Swann and Patel got in on the act to reduce them to 26-8. Even though the game was up, they still tried to enjoy themselves, as Naib and Shadran put on by far the best partnership of the innings with 44 (next best 12), before they were finally out for 80, with Jade picking up his second.

A very good and ruthless performance from England then, and they look very good for the rest of the tournament. They were fantastic in all 3 facets today, with every player putting in a good shift. But the opposition was obviously very weak, and India will be a much tougher test on Sunday. Afghanistan bowled well, but once again they fielded dreadfully and their batting was obviously very below par, so they still have a long way to go to become a competitive team.

Man of the Match: Luke Wright for his fantastic 99. An innings from a man who is now hopefully going to fulfil his potential in International cricket, after years of consistently performing for Sussex.

Bowler Review 2012

Compared to the batsman, the bowlers have had a good season this year. They have struggled at times to finish off an innings, but that isn’t something new for us. Stuart Meaker and Gareth Batty both excelled, finishing the top two wicket takers for us, but there were some other valuable contributions. Here’s my review of how the bowlers did this year.

Gareth Batty
LVCC- 30 wickets @ 26.30
CB40- 14 wickets @ 17.64
FLT20- 11 wickets @ 14.73
This season was by far Gareth’s best for the club. Picking up a total of 55 wickets overall, as well as leading the side for half of the season after Hamilton-Brown gave up the captaincy. He may not pick up hatfuls of wickets, but as you can see from the figures above, he has been consistent in all forms of the game this year. His effort, desire, commitment and leadership are unquestionable, making him, in my opinion, a perfect role model for any aspiring cricketer. Definitely my player of the season, and I hope he gets the captaincy full time next year.

Jade Dernbach
LVCC- 19 wickets @ 27.47
CB40- 13 wickets @ 22.76
FLT20- 3 wickets @ 13.00
Surrey fans didn’t see as much of Jade Dernbach this season as they would have liked, with him getting injured halfway through the year, combined with his increasing success in the England limited overs sides. Whenever he did play for us, he brought his passion and desire, which he has in abundance, but didn’t really fire in the Championship, picking up best figures of 3-39. However, his skills in List A cricket are sensational, becoming one of the most talked about bowlers in the International game, and he has now headed to Sri Lanka for the World T20, before ODI’s in India starting December.

Matthew Dunn
LVCC- 1 wicket @ 50.00
Matt Dunn struggled with fitness and form this season, having an indifferent time of it in the Second X1, and due to their being serious competition for places in the seamer ranks, didn’t play the amount of games for the first team that he would have liked to have done. He finally got a game in the last match of the season, picking up 1 wicket in 10 rather expensive overs. His contract is up at the end of the season, and I hope Adams gives him another chance to prove what he has got.

George Edwards
LVCC- 5 wickets @ 36.80
The tall, quick, Pemberton Greenish graduate, George Edwards, exploded onto the scene at New Road earlier this year, picking up figures of 4-44 in his first championship game of the season. He only played one further game after that, but it reinforces the fact that we have seam bowlers coming out of our ears at the moment, and it looks like George is going to follow in the footsteps of Dernbach and Meaker, and become a first team regular in the next couple of years.

Murali Kartik
LVCC- 27 wickets @ 22.11
CB40- 11 wickets @ 19.27
FLT20- 7 wickets @ 25.57
The Indian spinner had a productive spell with us after arriving at the end of May, following the conclusion of the Indian Premier League. Ok, he didn’t set the world alight, but he gradually got better as the season went on, becoming almost unplayable at times in the CB40, before helping to bowl us to victory in the final two home games of the season. He averaged over 50 in the Championship with Somerset last year with the ball, so we have certainly seen a better Kartik than they did. I’m not sure if we will see him next year, as I think Adams wants to bring in an overseas batsman, but as we have seen over the last couple of seasons, a quality spinner towards the end of the season is a massive bonus.

Jon Lewis
LVCC- 31 wickets @ 31.61
CB40- 4 wickets @ 49.25
After the move from his beloved Gloucestershire at the end of last season, Jon Lewis had a fantastic start to the season with the ball, as well as the bat, taking a fifer on his second appearance for the club at Lord’s, and for a short time, being our leading scorer in the Championship. However, he was given a break over the T20 period in June and July, and when he returned, he looked rusty. He failed to get the purchase out of the pitch, and through the air, that he had done earlier in the season, and only picked up a handful of wickets in the final half of the season. He still has one year left on his contract, so I would presume he will be their next year, but I don’t want him to get in the way of the development of Edwards and Dunn etc.

Tim Linley
LVCC- 16 wickets @ 29.00
After his wonderful season in the Second Division last year, The Viscount only played a handful of games in the Championship this season. Surrey fans were left bemused, especially when an unproven Edwards was given the nod over the leading wicket taker of last season. He did manage to get a five wicket haul, in the penultimate game of the season against Notts, helping us to gain survival. He still has time left on his contract, but unless Adams gives him assurances that he will play next year, he make seek to go elsewhere, with plenty of Division Two clubs likely to be interested if he becomes available.

Stuart Meaker
LVCC- 44 wickets @ 22.57
CB40- 9 wickets @ 21.00
FLT20- 4 wickets @ 25.25
Another great year for Stuart Meaker in a Surrey shirt. He backed up his performance in Division Two last year, by another very good season in Division One, as he is quickly becoming the first name on the teamsheet in 4 day cricket. He has gained further control in List A cricket also, going at just 4 an over in the CB40, and a call into the England set up cannot be far away. He didn’t play every game in the Championship this year, as he was injured for one or two, missed a couple due to Lions duty, and was just left out as conditions “didn’t suit his bowling”. He has recently signed a new 3 year contract, and the more we see of Meaker over the next few years, the better we will be.
Dirk Nannes
FLT20- 4 wickets @ 51.25
After his successful spell with us in 2011, Nannes returned for this year half the player he was last. He struggled to find a consistent line and length, and claimed only 4 wickets in total, in what was a difficult T20 campaign for us this year. He looked very rusty when he turned up, as he hadn’t played cricket for 3 months, and when you are a T20 specialist and haven’t played any T20 for a while, there was always going to be a problem.

Chris Tremlett
LVCC- 1 wicket @ 80.00
FLT20- 7 wickets @ 16.14
After he had several months off for injury, Tremlett burst back onto the scene in the T20, and he looked as good as ever. However, after playing the one Championship game against Lancashire at Guildford, he didn’t feature for the rest of the season due to a Knee injury. There is no doubting the man’s talent, but his injury record is worrying, and with his contract up at the end of the season, it isn’t certain he will be here next year. Let’s hope he can recover over the winter months, and come back fighting in 2013.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 3 round up

South Africa eliminate Zimbabwe

20/9/12- South Africa 94-0 12.4 overs (Levi 50* ) beat Zimbabwe 93-8 20 overs (Ervine 37, Kallis 4-15) by 10 wickets @ Hambantota

South Africa have easily beaten Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in Hambantota, knocking Alan Butcher’s side out of the competition in the process. AB de Villiers stuck Zimbabwe in on a pitch that had a green tinge to it, and they included Farhaan Behardien in the side for just his second T20 international. Zimbabwe made one change from their defeat to Sri Lanka, with former Worcestershire bowler Ray Price coming in for Mpofu.

Zimbabwe lost opener Sibanda in the second over to Morne Morkel, before star player and captain Brendon Taylor capped off a miserable couple of games for him when Morkel had him caught behind. They really struggled against the pure pace and quality of the South  African attack, and it was Morne’s brother, Albie, who quickly removed the other opener, Masakadza, as Zimbabwe were 3 down for just 16.

Ervine and Matsikenyeri put on some sort of recovery, but it never looked like it would last long, and with the score on 51, Kallis had the latter caught by Robin Peterson. Kallis then trapped Chigumbura first ball, before having Cremer caught behind two overs later, as Zimbabwe looked as if they would struggle to get to 100.

Dale Steyn then got his first wicket, as de Villiers held onto a great catch off Utseya’s glove down the leg side, before Kallis picked up his 4th, as the man who was by far the top scorer, Ervine, was caught behind for a well made 37. Kallis couldn’t pick up a 5th, but he did stop Zimbabwe from reaching 100, and South Africa already scented victory, and qualification to the next round.

England's nemesis of the summer Hashim Amla opened up with the big hitter Richard Levi, and they got their side off to a flier, reaching 38  off the first 4 overs.
They continued to tick along at almost 10 an over, as Zimbabwe's fate was all but sealed.

And inside 13 overs, South Africa had won with Levi finishing on an unbeaten off 43 balls, and Alan Butchers side were knocked out.

A very professional performance from the South Africans, playing similar to the way they have done all summer, with that ruthless streak. But Alan Butcher will be disappointed that is side haven't performed better in this competition, and it must have been one of the quickest exits to a competition in a while, as most of the teams haven't even played one game yet. However, they will come back a better team, and with regards to South Africa, they look a very good outfit.

Man of the match- Jacques Kallis for his 4-15. He tore apart the Zimbabwe middle order, and looks as good as ever.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 2 Round Up

Watson blasts Australia to opening win

Group B:
19/9/12- Australia 124-215 overs (Watson 51) beat Ireland 123-7 20 overs (K O’Brien 35, Watson 3-26) by 7 wickets @ Colombo

Australia have avoided a slip up, by comprehensively beating Ireland by 7 wickets in front of a small crowd in Colombo. Ireland batted firstand captain William Porterfield would have regretted that straight away, as Watson had him caught first ball of the game. The Irish top order fell away badly, with them restricted to 33-4 in the 8th, with Gary Wilson scoring just 5. The O’Brien brothers managed to add some respectability to the innings, putting on 52 for the 5th wicket, but Ireland were some way short of a good score, ending on 123-7 from their 20.

Watson and Warner got the Australia innings off to a great start, as they eased towards victory. Watson was playing particularly well, adding to his 3 wickets in the Ireland innings, but he did lose his partner when he was caught in the deep off Dockrell. But Watson took a liking to the Somerset man’s bowling, reaching his 50 off 28 balls with a big six. Watson did depart, followed quickly by Mike Hussey, but the victory was never in doubt, as White and Bailey led them home with 29 balls to spare.

A disappointing batting performance by Ireland, with several experienced players failing to make an impact. However, Australia did look very strong, and if Watson can continue with his current form, they will be a tough side to beat.

Man of the Match: Shane Watson was superb throughout the game, getting a wicket with the first ball, before condemning Ireland to defeat with the bat.

India win but Afghans not disgraced

Group A:
19/9/12- India 159-5 20 overs (Kohli 50) beat Afghanistan 136 all out 19.3 overs (Nabi 31, Balaji 3-19)  by 23 runs @ Colombo

India have overcome a potential banana skin, by beating Afghanistan by 23 runs this afternoon. The Afghan skipper Nawroz Mangal stuck India in, and they got a dream start when the left armer Shapoor Zadran removed both Gambhir and Sehwag inside 5 overs. Yuvraj helped the recovery until he was caught at third man, but India still had plenty of firepower left. However, when Kholi was dismissed for a quick fire 50, India struggled to reach the score that they had threatened to earlier. But MS Dhoni took 10 off the final two balls to take his side to a total of 159-5 from their 20 overs.

Afghanistan didn’t die wandering though, as they came out with an obvious intent of unsettling the Indian bowlers. But Big hitter Shahzad perished for 18, before Yuvraj removed the skipper for 22, Sadiq for 26, and Stanizkai for 6 as the required rate started to climb rapidly. They lost two more quick wickets, but with 4 overs to go, they were still in the game, needing 44 to win. However, when Nabi was dismissed for a well made 31, the game was all but up, and they were eventually all out for 136.

So a professional performance from India, against a far inferior opposition, but Afghanistan didn’t disgrace themselves, and on another day, they could have won the game. Their fielding let them down a lot, as they put down 4 chances, with at least 3 that should have been held, and England will have a tough test on Friday afternoon.

Man of the Match- Virat Kohli for his dynamic innings of 51. One of the most consistent players in the Indian team, and without him, they would have struggled today.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

ICC World Twenty20: Day 1 Round up

Over the next 19 days, I will post daily blogs about the progress of the World Twenty 20 tournament in Sri Lanka. The competition got under way this afternoon, with the hosts playing against former Surrey coach Alan Butcher’s Zimbabwe. Here is how that game panned out.

Mendis spins Sri Lanka to easy victory

18/9/12- Sri Lanka 182-4 20 overs (Sangakarra 44) beat Zimbabwe 100 all out 17.3 overs (A Mendis 6-8) by 82 runs @ Hambantota

At one of the newest grounds in International cricket in Hambantota, Brendan Taylor won the toss for Zimbabwe and elected to field first. An international debut was given to Sri Lankan opener Dilshan Munaweera, and a T20I debut to Zimbabwe’s Brian Vitori. Even though there was a boundary off the first ball of the match, it wasn’t an electric start by Sri Lanka, but they were helped by Zimbabwe, when Waller put Munaweera down twice inside the powerplay.

Zimbabwe had their man in the 7th over though, when Munaweera dropped his bat, and was run out in comical fashion as he tried to return to the crease. Jayawardene then had some luck of his own, when he was given out LBW, but with further inspection Graeme Cremer had bowled a back-foot no ball. But Cremer put that aside and had Dilshan caught behind 3 balls later for a 28 ball 39. But Jayawardene was then run out in Cremer’s next over, as Zimbabwe started to pull things back a touch. 

However, Sangakarra was still at the crease and a slog sweep from Jeevan Mendis brought up the 100 in the 14th over. Mendis was starting to fire as he hit the first six of the tournament, with a wonderful pick up off his legs, as the hosts looked to post an imposing total.

Sri Lanka reached 182-4 off their 20 overs, with Sangakarra top scoring with 44 before being the 3rd run out of the innings in the final over. A good, if not scintillating, performance from the hosts with the bat, but some woeful fielding and wayward bowling from Zimbabwe helped them considerably.

Zimbabwe never really got going and the mystery spin of Ajantha Mendis made an immediate impact, bowling Sibanda for a painstaking 11, and then had the skipper Brendon Taylor stumped first ball. Mendis couldn’t complete his hat trick, but he was looking in ominous form as he bowled Masakadza for 20 in his next over. Jeevan Mendis then removed Ervine and Waller in the same over to restrict Zimbabwe to 58-5 and they were really struggling when Ajantha was brought back on, as he bowled Chigumbura, before having Utseya caught at slip for his 5th wicket. And there was still time for him to pick up his 6th, finishing with figures of 6-8 off his 4 overs, the best figures in World T20 tournaments.

Jeevan Mendis picked up his 3rd before Malinga finished off the innings, and Sri Lanka had won by 82 runs. A very professional performance from the host nation, but Zimbabwe were poor. They fielded dreadfully throughout the Sri Lankan innings, and couldn’t cope with the spin of the Mendis’. Both teams can still improve, and if Sri Lanka do, they would be serious contenders for the trophy.

Man of the Match- Ajantha Mendis for his 6 wickets for 8 runs. His spell included two maidens and was a pleasure to watch. The mystery may have been worked out by some teams, but certainly not Zimbabwe.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Season Review 2012: An emotional journey

So the 2012 season has finally come to an end, and it has been without doubt one of the toughest I have experienced since I’ve supported Surrey.

Yes, we have had our bad days in the last few years, getting relegated in 2008 without winning a game in the entire season for the first time in our history was demoralising. Watching us get slaughtered regularly by better, much fitter, teams than us in One day cricket was very hard to take. But in the last couple of years that had changed. We gradually became better at 4 day cricket, getting more than the one victory in the LVCC in 2010, and getting increasingly more exciting and dynamic in the One day competitions.

2011 was fantastic. Ok, we may not have done so well at T20, but we’ve been poor in that format since 2006, so nobody really expects us to qualify out of the group. We began to look a strong outfit in both the Championship and CB40, and towards the end of the season we really excelled, winning our final 4 LVCC games to gain promotion, before winning our first silverware since 2003. Everyone stood up and said, “Surrey are back”. “They’re back where they belong” and from there on in, we could only get better.

But due to unforeseen circumstances this year, that hasn’t happened. We started the season perfectly by beating Sussex, and some bookies had us favourites for the Championship. We then narrowly lost to Middlesex at Lord’s, which seemed to spark a poor run of results. It took us over 4 months to find our next LVCC victory, but that’s only half of the story.

We went into the T20 buoyed by a solid, if not spectacular, start to the season in the Championship and CB40, confident of reaching Finals day. We won our first two games against Essex and Middlesex, and we were once again tipped for the trophy, and a loss at Beckenham on the Sunday was seen as a blip. But it turned out to be far worse than a blip.

The very next morning, it was announced that Tom Maynard had died. I couldn’t believe what I was reading on my phone. One of my heroes, and one of the greatest players we had had for the last decade had gone. I was stunned into silence, thinking about what all his family and friends were going through. I’m not old enough to fully remember Ben Hollioake’s passing, but would presume the reaction was similar. Heartbreak and disbelief that Tom had gone, and he wouldn’t be coming back.

How would the players react on the pitch? RHB was given an extended period away from the game, and eventually relinquished the captaincy. It was always going to be extremely difficult for the rest of them as well, but I would categorically say that they have performed out of their skins over the last few months, and have without doubt made Tom proud. The first game after Tom’s passing, the T20 at Chelmsford ended in defeat, but the performance the lads put in was remarkable. To hold it together like that was superb, and it will stick in the memory of Surrey fans for years to come.

The T20 campaign ended with a win over hot-favourites Sussex, thanks to a quick fire knock by KP, but not surprisingly, we hadn’t qualified from the group. The focus turned back to the longer form of the game, and an innings which Surrey fans who were at Guildford that day will remember forever: KP’s 234*. An innings of pure class and imagination, he began to bring a feel good factors back to the club.

It wasn’t until the 9th of August that we got that next Championship win, against the old enemy Middlesex. It certainly wasn’t easy, winning the game by just the 8 runs, thanks to an inspired performance from my Player of the season, Gareth Batty. That seemed to bring the team closer together, and even though the weather stopped us from defending our CB40 title, we managed to fight off relegation after defeating Nottinghamshire at the Oval. After Tom’s death, I thought it would be inevitable that we would go down, but it wasn’t to be, as the players stood up and performed admirably.

As I said above, the stand out player for me this season has to be Gareth Batty. The man took over the captaincy at an extremely difficult time, and led the side fantastically. The desire he puts in is unquestionable, and that seemed to rub off on the team. I very much hope he gets the job full time next year.

Other standout performances go to Rory Burns, who transferred his second X1 form into the first team, and will be a Surrey opener for years I feel. Arun Harinath finally showed Surrey fans what he is made of, and Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker both had very good years, with Jade becoming a regular in the England One day side.

Several players have now left the club, the Legend Mark Ramprakash retired after 25 years in the game, along with Rory Hamilton-Brown who is seeking pastures new, Chris Jordan who struggled this year, and Matt Spriegel who wants more First Class cricket at Northants. I wish all them well for the future.

However disappointed I am those players have gone, our club will survive, as no player is as big as our club. A break is what these players desperately need, and I believe that we will come back next year better than ever. COME ON THE REY!!