Gloucestershire's Twenty 20 campaign got off to a disappointing start as they were well beaten by a powerful Surrey side at the Oval. The Jessop Tavern View was there to witness the Glos debut of Murali and was hoping for a good performance from the boys. Sadly this was not to be the case, as having been put in to bat, the Shire struggled to a below par 155-8. They then saw a superb 92 from England keeper-batsman Steve Davies take Surrey to a comfortable victory with 19 balls still to be bowled.
This was the first opportunity for the Jessop Tavern View to see many of Glos' youngsters and new signings play live. Kevin O'Brien strode out to open with the skipper and struck a big six down the ground on the way to 24, before being caught at the second attempt by Zander de Bruyn on the square leg boundary. A disaapointing shot to a poor ball from 'Viscount' Linley. Gidman himself looked ill at ease against the pace of Dirk Nannes and both he and Taylor both departed to the T20 specialist. Kane Williamson again looked classy for his 32, but was run out in a comedy mix up with Will Gidman. I had to take this from a description by my friend, as the incident occured while I was stuck in a tremendous queue at the bar.
This smacked of poor planning from Surrey and I wasn't the only one stuck in line complaining about the lack of available bars. Perhaps they were not expecting so many of us to turn up, but you would think they would want us to buy more drinks instead of wasting 25 minutes in the bloody queue and then deciding not to go back for another drink later on. Rant over.
Will Gidman and Ed Young launched a fightback, putting on 45 to take Glos up to what we thought was a defendable total. Overall it was still an average batting performance, with momentum regularly being lost through wickets and an inability to get after Nannes and Linley.
The Surrey innings got off to a flying start, with Grabber Hamilton-Brown and Davies taking 68 off the 6 powerplay overs. The Gloucestershire seamers were meat and drink to two players who aren't big fans of running. Lewis and Payne both sprayed the ball around and were punished. I don't see the point of playing Payne, a wicket-taker, but also young and erratic, in T20 matches, especially those played on flat tracks like the Oval. Another spinner would have been a better option. Murali was also disappointing, bowling too short in his first two overs, which disappeared for 25, included a big six over long on from Davies.
We should give credit to the Surrey batsmen. They batted aggressively and never allowed the Shire's bowlers to settle. Steve Davies was especially impressive. He struck the ball with great authority and placement in his 92 not out. In short, he looked a top class player. We would have him as England's ODI keeper and opening bat over Kieswetter.
Glos will need to play a lot better against Essex at Chelmsford tonight, otherwise this year's campaign could be off to a nightmare start.