Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 5, 2021

The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket – 5 July 2021

Ball One – Samit Patel, the old sheriff in town, still doing it for Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire, the defending champions, stormed away at the top of the North Group after a couple of wins in which Samit Patel underlined his claim to be Player of the Blast (so far). He may not be the model to inspire sales of replica kits to twentysomethings, but he’ll do for those of us who might not see a pair of skinny jeans in the wardrobe any time soon.

Having backed up the previous day’s 63 not out with a handy 41 in Notts’ 177-9, Samit started the Birmingham Bears’ hokey-cokey in and out of the Edgbaston pavilion with the wicket of opener, Adam Hose, then handed over to ex-England man, Jake Ball and South African born leg-spinner, Calvin Harrison, who socked it to the other batsmen. Things soon turned pretty ugly for the depleted home side, all out 63 in fewer than 14 overs.

No disrespect intended to Harrison, who learned his cricket in Somerset and must now be attracting the attention of franchises around the world, but one wonders why any captain would go into a T20 without a wrist-spinner – or, indeed, two – and why more batsmen don’t do what Joe Denly did ten years or so ago and hone a secondary skill into a useful option, the “natural variation” of a part-timer more a help than a hindrance in the shortest form of the county game.

Ball Two – Lockie Ferguson closes door on Lancashire

With three matches left, seven teams have a realistic chance of making the quarter-finals from the North Group – a bit of luck with the weather, a stellar performance or two, a tight run out could make all the difference. So much sport is driven by data these days, with unseen boffins and coaching gurus becoming as important as the players, that it’s good to have so much jeopardy and chance arise naturally in England’s top white ball competition.

Yorkshire, second, look more likely than Lancashire, sixth and four points in arrears of their Pennines rivals, to have a shot at Finals Day after another tremendous Roses match at Headingley. Harry Brook’s 91 not out took him to the top of the run scoring charts (463 at an average 116 and a strike rate of 156) and set the Red Rose a target of 181. Cue New Zealander, Lockie Ferguson, who took the simplest route to defending 10 off the last three balls of the match – a hat-trick! The last 12 months or so have, in every sense, been a good time to call yourself a Kiwi.

Ball Three – Anything you can do…

They have a taste for finishing matches with a hat-trick, these New Zealand quicks, as Adam Milne administered the same coup de grâce to Surrey to secure top spot in the South Group for Kent.

Another fifty from Jack Leaning and late pyrotechnics from Jordan Cox had set Surrey a stiff target of 192, but Will Jacks teeing off at the top of the order puts any number within reach. When he was out for 87, Surrey needed 57 off 32 balls with eight wickets in hand and the experienced Laurie Evans going well at the other end. But. with boundaries needed in the last over, the Kiwi polished them off.

Ball Four – Hybrid technology driving Essex

Six of the nine teams in the South Group have a shot at a top four slot, with Essex’s two wins out of two last week ensuring that they’re in that sextet for the final selection.

After Somerset had set a chase of 154, Essex ran between the raindrops at Chelmsford to reach their revised target of 148 in 19 overs, all involved showing admirable desire to get as many overs as possible in for the crowd and for the integrity of the competition. The home side’s two wicketkeepers, Adam Wheater and Michael Pepper, kept their eyes on the skies, Duckworth-Lewis-Stern’s calculations and the ball with superb focus.

The match was played on a hybrid pitch, grass held together with synthetic material. I’m crediting the use of 3G pitch technology at development levels with the production of a more technically gifted generation of English footballers than ever I can remember – can enhancing nature do the same for cricket?

Ball Five – Batsman of the Week

When Somerset signed Devon Conway and they probably felt they would need to invest a little time in his effecting the technical, mental and emotional transition from extraordinary Test match feats to solid white ball knocks. With a four ball five in his first innings for his county, that looked like the trajectory.

Last week he made 51 not out, 53, 81 not out and 45 as Somerset climbed to second in the South Group. Any thoughts on Tuesday’s Euromillions numbers Mr Conway?

Ball Six – Bowler of the Week

What were you doing at 16? I was feeling pretty good about myself, playing second XI cricket on some of the most beautiful old grounds in and around Liverpool. Archie Lenham (why do so many kids have names more suited to villainous Victorian mill owners in misguided musical theatre projects these days?) is winning Man of the Match awards for Sussex – presumably because there was no Boy of the Match award available.

The wrist-spinner (yep, another one) shot out a couple of wise old heads in David Lloyd and Glamorgan captain, Chris Cooke, en route to 4-26 and fourth place in the South Group. I hope he was allowed just a swig or two of his champagne.


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