The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at Spin Cricket.
Ball One – T20 quarter-finals have the air of semi-finals as Finals Day is, well, Finals Day. In consequence, they are great to win and horrible to lose. In three of this week’s quarters, the side batting first cruised home, but in the fourth, Hampshire got up in a thriller against fancied Notts at Trent Bridge. It was old hands Neil McKenzie and Dimi Mascarenhas who did the damage, putting together 54 runs in 4.2 overs. Just as the slower the bowling, the more effective it is, the older the batsman, the more effective he is.
Ball Two – And, at 37, they don’t come much older than Scott Styris, who blasted Gloucestershire’s callow attack for 100 off 37 balls to send Sussex through. He played largely orthodox shots, just hitting them very hard in the most destructive innings I have seen since Kevin O’Brien’s tour-de-force against England in the World Cup, back in March 2011.
Ball Three – Yorkshire’s win over Worcestershire was illuminated by Joe Root’s extraordinary fielding to dismiss James Cameron. It would have been a spectacular catch on the fence, but Root, as he was going over the boundary, tossed the ball back to David Miller, whose name is in the book for the catch. Sure there are a dozen or so such catches on youtube, but that doesn’t make it any less thrilling to see as it happens. Fielding appears to be getting better and better – surely it can’t improve much more?
Ball Four – In the other quarter-final, Essex’s batsmen insisted on chipping the ball in the air, eight of them eventually falling for catches. It was a curious non-event of a chase against some rather ordinary Somerset bowling. So Westcountrymen are at Cardiff for Finals Day – better get those bridesmaids costumes out again.
Ball Five – Chris Jones has played a few games for Somerset but, at 21, he must have been feeling that the game had turned against him. His scores since the beginning of June have gone: 15, 22, 12, 8, o, 4, 4, 0. So he must have been wary opening for Dorset against Shropshire. He made 175 and 188.
Ball Six – Anthony McGrath has seen plenty in his rollercoaster years with Yorkshire (even international caps) but he can’t often have played in a match in which he followed up a duck with an undefeated double-century and still lost – all in three days. That’s second XI cricket for you!
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