Sunday, 17 May 2015

What's going on? Glos in dominant T20 win shocker

Gloucestershire 179 for 3 (Cockbain 91*, Marshall 56) beat Middlesex 175 for 3 (Compton 78) by seven wickets

Twenty20 cricket has not been Gloucestershire's strong suit in recent years. Underpowered batting, easily targeted seamers and expensive spinners have not been enough to back up our excellent fielding side.

The pattern looked set to continue when Glos were set 176 to win after allowing Nick Compton, of all people, to strike a T20 career high of 78. It's rarely a good sign when a man who was dropped from the test team a couple of years back for being too slow and stodgy suddenly opens up and gives you some 20 over tap. At least he makes amusing YouTube videos, which makes him striking you all over the park that much easier to bear.

Still, we bowled and fielded well and the highest score aside from Compo was just 39 from Paul Stirling.

The Glos chase got off to a good start, with O'Mish happy to be back to a form of the game which suits him best. What that means in layman's terms is that he can simply turn off the brain and swing that bat to his heart's content. This is something he's rather good at and helped him put on 98 in 9.3 overs with skipper Ian 'Kurt' Cockbain after Chris Dent departed early.

Cockbain has been named T20 captain this season and it's great to see him actually play a match, let alone strike a match-winning 91 not out from just 49 balls. Cockbain is a bit of a favourite here at the Tavern, we think he's good enough to play 4 day stuff as well, but a first class average of just 30 hasn't really helped make that case. By all accounts though, he's been in good nick for the 2nd XI and here he showed his T20 prowess with 9 fours and 5 sixes in his knock.

By the time Marshall departed for 56 the match was almost done, despite a failure for Peter Handscomb, and Cockbain sealed the deal with his 5th six.

A great win to start off the campaign. Having checked out last season's performance, we're reminded that Glos were scuppered in our efforts to reach the knockout phases by a somewhat harsh 2pt penalty, imposed by the ECB for a sub-standard pitch at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. This year we have with a clean slate and a good win under our belts already. This may be the perfect chance to push on and at least make the quarters of a competition where we surely have as good a chance of success as any.

So there you have it, three wins in a row in all competitions and the Tavern has lurched into extreme optimism mode. Long may the rise of the Shire continue!

Ian Cockbain's post-match interview below:

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