Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 17, 2017

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 16 July 2017

Leicestershire arrive in Birmingham

Ball One – Clint’s ragtag posee ride into town, steal the points and will look to return

Leicestershire’s collection of imports and rejects added a third win in three to top the North Group, as they set their sights on another short trip for Finals Day. They found their July visit to Edgbaston amenable and will be keeping diaries clear for 2 September, always the red letter day at Leicestershire. Captain Clint McKay used six bowlers, five of them getting at least one wicket, amongst whom Matt Pillans and George Griffiths caught the eye. Pillans had washed out at Surrey, barely registering a run or wicket after his 2016 signing; Griffiths is a local lad who didn’t make the grade at Lancashire, despite a memorable contribution to the Red Rose success on Finals Day 2015 and got a move. As team mate Mark Cosgrove can attest, never listen when someone assesses your future and (in essence) says, “Fat chance”.

Ball Two – Nobody wins at Old Trafford

The “Game of Roses” match at Old Trafford was tied on Duckworth-Lewis after Lancashire had made 176 in their full allocation and Yorkshire responded with 64-2 after 8.1 overs. Though not as strange an outcome as the Lions’ drawn series with the All Blacks, it does seem contrary to fail to define a winner after two hours or more of tussle.Thankfully, the days of bowl-offs in sports centres (with professional cricketers proving largely incapable of hitting the stumps) are gone, but maybe some way of finding a winner should be developed. While a tie off the last ball can provide drama, the inevitable confusion about the D-L par score and the long-winded countdown as overs are lost to the weather and umpires emerge to poke and prod at the turf, produces an altogether different climax – one that won’t sit well with the IPLish marketing we’re likely to get for franchise cricket in three years time.

Ball Three – Six and out – for the celebration

The “Walk Off Home Run” is one of baseball’s great dramas – trailing at the bottom of the ninth, a man on base, the ball is sent into the stratosphere, the runs needed for the win secured, the hitter takes the acclaim of the crowd jogging round the diamond before being mobbed by team mates running from the benches. It’s great theatre. Craig Meschede must have felt a little of that frisson when he hit the last ball of a 443 runs match over the boundary to ensure the points went to Glamorgan at Chelmsford. Earlier, Varun Chopra’s century had been matched by one from Colin Ingram in a match that saw 29 sixes struck – and not a franchise in sight.

Ball Four – Finn finishes it after Batty keeps Surrey in the match

The emergence of Amar Virdi, Surrey’s off spinner who turns 19 this week, has led to captain, Gareth Batty, dropping himself from a couple of Championship matches, but he was back for the big local derby against Middlesex at a packed Lord’s on Thursday night. He introduced himself with the home side cruising, 68-1 with 91 needed at a comfortable 7 an over. In two spells of two overs, he bagged the handy quartet of Brendon McCullum, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan and Tim Southee to finish with figures of 4-1-14-4. Surrey knew they had to bowl out Middlesex to win and were a Steven Finn wicket short of doing that when the Number 11 hit the boundary to win it for the home team. Batty, whether we’re talking about a match or a career, isn’t ready to give up just yet.

Ball Five – Hey Joe, where you going with that bat in your hand?

Joe Denly is a member of that large group of English cricketers who surprises you by being so young. Still only 31, he played the last of his nine ODIs in the 2009 Champions Trophy and the last of his five T20Is a few months later. After an unsuccessful sojourn at Middlesex, he’s now back at Kent and in the form of his life. His 116 not out carried his native county past Surrey’s 205 at The Oval, adding another century to scores of 182, 78*, 227, 45, 119 and 71* scored in the last five County Championship matches. His leg-breaks aren’t the worst on the circuit either – an option that might enhance England’s somewhat narrow range of bowling options in white ball cricket. Worth another look I’d suggest.

Ball Six – High flying Crane lifts Hampshire to the top of the T20 Blast South Group

A man closer to selectors’ thoughts is Mason Crane, the young Hampshire legspinner. The last time I saw him, he was in the middle of a chastening experience at a sun-baked Oval, finishing the match with figures of 1-222: character-building might be the kindest way to describe that hammering. He bounced back with figures of 1-26, as Hampshire defended 167 vs Glamorgan and, last week, 2-24 defending 188 vs Sussex and 3-15 defending 189 vs Middlesex – all from his full allocation. Hampshire sit top of the South Group with maximum points and a formula that works – young Crane can expect to add to his two T20I caps later this season.

 

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