Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 8, 2011

The Final Over of the Day – Middlesex vs Surrey T20

 

Middlesex's Steven Finn with Surrey's Zafar Ansari

Ball One – In the same way that Stuart Broad seems a worse bowler every time I see him, Steven Finn appears a better bowler every time I see him. His best attributes work in any format of the game – an attacking line and length, that is getting more consistent all the time, and a perfect seam position that zips rather than floats the ball off the pitch. He can be quite sharp when he is in rhythm, but even his mum would question a speedgun that shows him regularly above 93mph tonight.

Ball Two – Jason Roy and Steven Davies are an ideal opening partnership for T20 cricket – right and left, come forward and hang back, power-hitting and silky timing. They run hard and are developing a good understanding of each others’ games. Both prefer powerplay cricket and, if I were hyper-critical, I’d suggest both need to work harder at rotating the strike in the middle overs.

Ball Three – If KP made 52 off 37 deliveries and was out in the tenth over, plenty would complain that he had thrown it away – again. I disagree. Jason Roy, the man dismissed for 52, has set a fine platform for his team-mates and it’s really down to them to push on to the 200 that Surrey will be eyeing. Batting through is less important in T20 than ODIs – obviously, with fewer deliveries available – and getting bogged down with wickets in hand is a cardinal sin.

Ball Four – Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter bowled an impressive spell of mainly dot balls and singles, applying the brakes to a runaway Surrey train. In style, Dexter has something of the old Kiwi Chris Harris – slow-medium but never quite there to hit. It doesn’t look difficult to bowl, but it must be – otherwise they would all do it, wouldn’t they? Surely such an approach remains largely unused purely because it’s unfashionable? As inexplicable was his own decision to leave himself one short of his four overs allocation – especially as Ryan McLaren bowled like a drain all night.

Ball Five – Such are fielding standards these days, that any errors or dropped chances stand out a mile. Middlesex, in a very difficult trot and with little to play for, were pedestrian throughout the 20 overs. One can find excuses but, as professional cricketers given the privilege of turning out at Lord’s in front of a very decent crowd, it was shoddy stuff from the pussyfooting Panthers. Even Steven Finn, who seldom shows anything beyond wry amusement in the face of team-mates’ indiscretions, showed some frustration – what Ryan Sidebottom would have made of it, is best left to quiet speculation.

Ball Six – There’s just enough lycra in T20 kits to show a bit of muscle definition on the players, and there’s plenty to see. There are still a few chunky types around, but there’s barely a pinch of fat on anyone – except Mark Cosgrove.

Gary Naylor, whom you can tweet at @garynaylor999 and find at Cricket On Fivespincricket.com and Testmatchsofa.com

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