The Final Over of the Week in County Cricket also appears at 99.94.
Ball One – 10,000 pitched up at Headingley for the T20 Roses showdown, which underlines that there’s a appetite for county cricket with a context (notwithstanding the fact that 5,000 would pitch up to see Yorkshire play Lancashire at tiddlywinks). Making every match matter while making enough money between the showers, isn’t easy, but isn’t impossible either.
Ball Two – Worcestershire, having set a gettable target of 143 managed to dismiss just five Northants batsmen… but still won comfortably. They did it by bowling dot balls – Alex Wakely, Rob White and James Middlebrook used up 24 deliveries in scoring just 9 runs between them. Rotating the strike is a crucial skill in all formats of the game – is it practised enough?
Ball Three – Notts 105-3 after 14 overs at the wonderful North Marine Road ground in Scarborough, with Yorkshire’s Aussie lefty Mitchell Starc still with a couple of overs in hand, but James Taylor and Chris Read well set. And match abandoned. The weather has a lot to answer for this season.
Ball Four – Two more stinkers for Sky, as Durham capitulated to Gary Keedy’s nous in setting Lancashire a target of 122 that was swallowed in 14 overs and Surrey (with some mitigation) collapsing to 42-6 before Hampshire cruised home. One Day cricket should be all about big hits and thrillers going to the wire – I’m not sure what it’s about this season, but not it’s not that.
Ball Five – There was a decent finish at Chelmsford, though it won’t have pleased the locals. After James Foster had again showed his worth as a one day batsman (is it too late for England to come calling again?), Essex might have fancied their chances as Will Beer, better known as a legbreak bowler, took guard with 13 needed off 8. Beer went 3, 2, 2, 4, 1 to leave Ben Brown to hit the winning boundary. That’s the kind of cool head under pressure that a leg spinner needs – with Scott Borthwick playing in a struggling side at Durham, the selectors might fancy a look at the Sussex man.
Ball Six – But if you can’t have close finishes, at least have unpredictable finishes. Who would have thought that star-studded, much fancied Somerset would have capitulated to a somewhat prosaic Gloucestershire team, for all Murali’s fading genius. Hamish Marshall and Benny Howell needed only ten runs from their colleagues to overhaul the total set by a batting side who could slot Alfonso Thomas in at 9. In Twenty20, you’ve always got a chance.
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