Monday, 29 June 2015

T20 roundup MKII: Glos campaign stalls after Cidermen win derby and Luke Wright heist

Somerset 166 for 5 (Myburgh 63, Smith 2-23) beat Gloucestershire 165 for 8 (Klinger 44) by five wickets

It says something about Gloucestershire's marketing efforts, that when this half of the Jessop Tavern View called his Dad last Friday, to ask if he was going to use his T20 membership to go and watch the derby game, the response was, 'I forgot it was on'.

This is despite Freddie Wilde's assertion that 'it is hard to walk around Bristol and not see something about the NatWest T20 Blast.' Admittedly my Dad doesn't live all that near Bristol, but as a T20 member yet to attend a match this season, you would think Glos would have been ramming this fixture down his throat via all available mediums.

This was another important fixture for a 'shire side whose early season momentum seems to be grinding to a halt at the moment. It was even on TV, a rare occurrence for a team usually relegated to the outer reaches of the BBC Sport app and Cricinfo.

Anyway, it didn't go all that well, with Glos struggling to 165 for 8 on what was apparently a tricky pitch to bat on. 37-1 from the Powerplay tells a story of a batting side,  Klinger aside, lacking real fire power and the ability to really dominate a bowling attack. Once the big wicket of Klinger (44) was taken, we quickly slumped to 118-6 after Kieran Gourmet-Burger departed in the 16th over.

Some late scrambling from the lower order saw 42 taken from the last 18 deliveries, but 165 was surely under par, even for a Somerset side lacking the big enormous bat of the Caribbean Premier League-bound Chris Gayle. However, the bowlers managed to claw things back after Somerset got away and reached 59-1 after the Powerplay, with Aussie Jim Allenby hitting a rapid 27.

Spinners Tom Smith and Jack Taylor bowled tightly to help increase the run rate from overs 11 through 18, when Johan Myburgh departed for a solid 63. Things then went pear-shaped as Dutch-Aussie Tom Cooper struck two sixes helped get the cidermen over the line. It's always good to have a number of Kolpak and EU signings to be able to fall back on when you're missing the likes of Gayle and the rested Tres.

In a worrying portent of things to come below, James Fuller again proved unreliable when bowling a crucial over at the death, managing to let slip two wides when only 4 runs were needed for victory. Surely experience has proven that he's simply not reliable enough to bowl at the death in limited overs matches?

A disappointing loss and one which left the boys really needing a victory in a tough match versus Sussex the following Friday.

Jack Taylor's thoughts on the match below:

Sussex 188 for 7 (Wright 111*) beat Gloucestershire 185 for 4 (Klinger 61, Marshall 37) by 3 wickets 

Another Friday nightmare for Glos as (another) disastrous James Fuller bowling performance led to a defeat snatched from the stomach of victory. This was a match in which we did almost everything right until the end. We batted strongly to score an excellent 185, then bowled and fielded well to leave Sussex (basically in the form of Luke Wright) needing 43 from the final two overs.

The wheels then came off in spectacular fashion. Fuller was withdrawn from the attack after having bowled two no ball full tosses and having been struck for 3 sixes and a four by Wright. Craig Miles stepped up to bowl the final ball, which was also deposited for six by a fired-up Wright, who progressed to his hundred with the blow. 34 runs from the over and suddenly Sussex needed just 9 to win, a feat they achieved off Jack Taylor's final over with some ease.

Klinger was obviously distressed with the defeat and his comments in Cricinfo's match report seems to reveal some frustration with Fuller's inability to bowl death overs:

"It was a crushing defeat for us in the circumstances, but all the credit must go to Luke Wright for a fantastic innings. James Fuller had a plan for bowling to him in the penultimate over and simply couldn't execute it."

Freddie Wilde again hit the nail on the head in his synopsis, pointing out that Glos' lack of international experience compared to other counties is likely to continue to cost them matches in this competition

"However, they arguably lost this match, and may lose similar matches in the future, because they lack an international quality, standout player, be that with bat or ball, but especially ball. Of their starting XI, only Hamish Marshall and Geraint Jones have played international cricket, and neither have done so for almost a decade. The likes of James Fuller can't be relied upon to close out matches."

This rings true when you look at our side. Klinger could arguably be said to be of international calibre- albeit untested at that level until now. The rest of the side is either old like Jones and Marshall, young like Miles and Taylor or simply mediocre like Fuller, Noema-Barnett, Howell and others.

Not good enough and the defeat leaves us with a lot of work to do to make the quarter finals, beginning with an away game at fellow T20 strugglers Surrey at the Oval on Weds 1st July. Both halves of The Jessop Tavern View will actually be at this game, so we'll be well-placed to report back on what could be another tale of woe come Thursday morning.

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