Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 13, 2018

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 12 June 2018

Ball One – Ravi runs riot

Essex, who know a bit about winning cricket matches, disposed of already qualified Kent to join Hampshire in the trio progressing from the South Group to the knockout stages of the Royal London One Day Cup. It was a fourth victory in a row for Ryan ten Doeschate’s men, the margin a very comfortable 153 runs. Ravi Bopara top scored for Essex with 125 and provided an interesting contrast with his opposite number, Darren Stevens. Few would describe the Kent all-rounder’s career as unfulfilled, indeed the plaudits will ring out when the 42 year-old finally hangs up his spikes. But that word – unfulfilled – is the adjective that comes to mind most often when Ravi’s name is mentioned. Yet Bopara has better numbers and has won more trophies than Stevens – and has well over a 100 appearances for England on which to look back in old age. Remarkably, a stat was unearthed this week that put Ravi seventh on the list of run scorers over the last ten years in all forms of the game – worldwide! So, “unfulfilled”? You decide.

Ball Two – Willey will bat higher won’t he?

Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire all won and all progressed from the North Group, a mean looking set of raiders with eyes on Lord’s. David Willey scored over 200 runs in two matches for the White Rose, and it gained him a promotion when back in England colours – all the way up to Number 8. Though the square-jawed son of the square-on Peter Willey is in decent form with the ball for his county, he’s probably seen as a batsman who bowls these days in domestic cricket but most definitely as a bowler who bats in the international game. That might not matter if Yorkshire and England keep winning (okay, I know, Bannockburn II last Sunday) but should England be getting more from Willey, a man ideally suited to the “dangerous floater” role to inject six overs of mayhem into an innings when required?

Ball Three – Renshaw a sure thing for Somerset

Though BBC Five Live’s sports news prior to The Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show gave us news of England’s Women’s ODI victory over SA and Scotland’s T20 defeat by Pakistan, of the county championship there was not a word. That won’t bother the decent crowds at Taunton this week, who saw a hard fought win over an obdurate Nottinghamshire send Somerset top of Division One. Asked to follow on, Steven Mullaney’s men scored 371 more runs to set the home side a tricky 248, which they got, four down. Australian Matt Renshaw top scoring in both innings and proving a more than adequate replacement for the banned Cameron Bancroft. Will the moment of madness in Cape Town be felt half a world away come September, with a first ever Championship?

Ball Four – Burns scorches to 500 runs

Surrey lurk just one point behind the pacesetters having swept aside Hampshire at the Rose Bowl. Opener, Rory Burns, is wearing the mantle of captaincy lightly (not always the case at Surrey). His 151 anchored the only innings his side needed, impressed Dale Steyn and won him the race to be the first to 500 runs in Division One. It’s hard to see what more he can do to impress the England selectors – perhaps a few pretty cover drives, like his opposing captain, out for 14 and 28 in this match. Amar Virdi showed that he had lost no rhythm after a month without first team cricket, with 3-23 in Hampshire’s second dig, the victims all internationals: James Vince, Sean Ervine and Kyle Abbott.

Ball Five – Essex defending the pennant with great heart

Essex, those southern not-softies, went to Manchester and returned with an easy win over a Lancashire side who were 59-5 in the first innings and 28-5 in the second. Fragile upper order or not, credit goes to the Essex attack led by the duo who were so instrumental in delivering the title last year. Jamie Porter (34.4 – 12 – 98 – 7) and Simon Harmer (33.3 – 9 – 69 – 7) are not a pair you want to run into when you’re searching for form. Just ask Haseeb Hameed, out for 5 and 4, with his heroics in India receding further and further into the past.

The majesty of The Bell

Ball Six – Bell chimes in with two tons

Warwickshire went 24 points clear at the top of Division Two with a forth win in succession after Glamorgan pushed them hard, four wickets the difference at the end. And who was most responsible Bear for this turn of events? Step forward Ian Bell, whose twin centuries had writers everywhere looking to avoid references to London buses – his previous one coming two years ago. Though he’ll always have something of a schoolboy’s mien that’ll cling to him as it clings to Alan Bennett (even in his 80s), Bell is 36 now but has three centuries red inked into the scorebooks in his last four knocks. If his appetite for batting (or rather, I suspect, the concentration batting big scores requires) is truly back, then the gate receipts will rise at Edgbaston and some of us will give a metaphorical nod in his direction, thanking him for The Ashes 2013 and plenty more.

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Responses

  1. Re young Virdi, in terms of all round ability (not temperament) do we suspect he’s a bit like Monty? Can’t bat, can’t field. Can bowl a bit…

    Probably why England preferred Good Queen Bess for the debut against Pakistan?

    • Better fielder than Monty – who isn’t?

      • Yeah. I thought that. But he’s never going to be a batting all-rounder is he?

  2. Ravi Bop is/was so nearly a top international cricketer. I wonder if a career as a pundit awaits?


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