Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 24, 2017

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 24 July 2017

You talkin’ to me?

Ball One – KP hits out

Kevin Pietersen’s Surrey (see what I did there) top the South Group after a couple of strange matches at The Oval. On Wednesday, a raucous (but not too raucous) capacity crowd saw him pretty much single-handedly get Surrey up to 150, a score that proved good enough on a slow pitch exploited with Yorkshire nous by Gareth Batty, whose four overs brought him 2-19. But back to KP, as always seems the case. Having been badly dropped at cow corner by Dan Lawrence and “running” like a stiff Alastair Cook, he appeared to decide to hit sixes and five of the match’s eight flew off his bat. In more ways that one, he played like a right-handed version of Chris Gayle – whether that is a good look these days remains to be seen. It worked in this match, no other batsman crossing 30, as Essex fell 11 short of their target.

Ball Two – Howell gets the shout from his captain and delivers again

Gloucestershire are handily placed, one of three teams two points off Surrey, but with two games in hand on the leaders. Their win over Kent showed the value of bowling options in a format often described as a batsman’s game. Having posted 138-9, the wise old head of Michael Klinger used seven bowlers to restrict Kent’s powerful line up to 130. His Numbers 9 and 11 in the order (Matt Taylor and Chris Liddle) bowled just one over each – which isn’t much of a return for their subs, but showed the flexibility of their team mates, exemplified, as ever, by Benny Howell (26 off 16 and 4-0-12-2).

Ball Three – Anderson swings it over the fence and gets the job done for Somerset

White ball cricket needs spectacular batting and, perhaps for the more refined palate, graceful fielding and cunning bowling, but it also needs close finishes and the Taunton faithful got one in a 16 overs a side thrash against Middlesex. It boiled down to a coin toss last over – the home side needing 13 from it for the win. Kiwi clobberer, Corey Anderson, hit James Franklin’s first ball for six and the coin was suddenly loaded Somerset’s way – a no ball and a wide later, Roelof van der Merwe scored the winning runs off the fifth ball to edge Somerset a point ahead of Middlesex in a tight group.

Ball Four – Duckworth / Lewis corners Foxes.

Leicestershire, a game in hand on the Roses counties at the top of the North Group, suffered at the spreadsheets of those two little pals of mine, Messrs Duckworth and Lewis in a match that suggested that conventional wisdom may not be all that it appears. Batting second, the Foxes were ahead for most of their innings, but, as everyone knows, a wicket can lift the par score and mean that batsmen, new to the crease, have to play catch-up. Colin Ackermann and Mark Pettini ate up 22 deliveries making 16 runs between them, the slowest strike rates amongst the 15 men who made it to the crease. It’s said that D/L favours sides chasing as they know their targets, ball by ball, but might that also bring extra pressure, effectively making every over a final over? Perhaps someone might seek the views of Ackermann and Pettini – but let’s wait until Leicestershire have made it out of the group stage before we do.

Ball Five – Derbyshire show England how to lose with a bit of fight at Trent Bridge.

If the Trent Bridge Test match collapsed more quickly than Sean Spicer’s White House career, Friday’s big crowd were treated to a high scoring extravaganza at England’s best cricket ground. After the home side’s two wicketkeepers-who-don’t-keep-wicket (Riki Wessels 110 and Brendan Taylor 67) got Notts up to 227-3, Derbyshire knew they had to get a good start and keep going, but a mid-innings dip (overs 11-14 realising just 27 runs) meant that the visitors needed 29 off the last 12 balls. To do that, batsmen usually need a big 19th over, but the left arm pace of Harry Gurney conceded just 8 runs and, despite their valiant effort, Gary Wilson’s men fell short by six to lose a splendid local derby.

Ball Six – Whiteley’s blast in the Blast insufficient as Yorkshire count down the overs to victory

Sixes, once a rare beast, are now ten a penny, barely provoking some T20 “fans” to put down their beer long enough to applaud, but six sixes in an over? Well, that’s still the white rhino of batsmanship. Ross Whiteley was the man on the charge for Worcestershire with Yorkshire’s Karl Carver in the Malcolm Nash role, spoiling things just a little by including a wide for the scorers. Whiteley’s sobersing wasn’t enough though, the home side’s 233-6 proving (unsurprisingly) too much to chase, David Willey having blasted eight sixes of his own for the Tykes in his 118. In all there were 27 hits over the boundary – the white rhino has morphed into the cane toad.

 

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