Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Which way to Finals Day??

T20 Blast: Glos beat Glamorgan by 9 wickets

It is the mark of a very good side if they re able to shrug off disappointment and use defeat as the motivation to put in a performance that banishes any lingering disappointment. Glos did that, and then some, bouncing back from a close loss to Kent with their finest T20 victory of the season against table-topping Glamorgan on Sunday. Aided by a slightly strange decision by Glamorgan to bat first on a sluggish pitch.

You'd like to know what the Glamorgan lads thought when they rocked up in Cardiff to see that their groundsman had prepared an absolutely pudding for their 3 out and out quick bowlers to toil away on. A little bit like the groundsman at the Oval who prepared that absolute bunsen for Murali to bowl on all those years ago, Tait, Hogan and Van der Gutgen must have been wondered what the heck was going on.

Gloucestershire's attack duly licked their lips and set about applying their mixture of slower balls on a sticky pitch to utterly smother Glamorgan's batsmen. 'Jacques' van Buuren took 3 for 19. Tom Smith took 2 for 13. Benny took 1 for 13. All demonstrating that pace off the ball was the way to go. Thus potentially the performance of the day was Liam Norwell's 0 for 21 from 4 overs, demonstrating once again that Norwell is maturing into a very useful bowler in various formats.

Only Graham Wagg's 32 from 23 balls, including 18 from AJ Tye's final over got Glamorgan into triple figures. Whilst conditions may have favoured Gloucestershire's attack, it is hard to find any fault with such a fine bowling performance.

In reply O'Mish was out early which simply brought Maxi and Ian Cockbain together. 97 runs later Klinger and Cockbain walked off. Job done.

Maxi and Cockbain now sit first and second in the T20 run charts for 2016. They may have played a couple of games more than Joe Denly and Ross Taylor who sit third and fourth, but then again second placed Cockbain's 388 runs is over 50 runs more than Denly. Maxi incidentally has 422 runs. Maxy does what Maxy does. Both have identical strike rates of 128 runs per 100 balls. Phenomenal performances from both.

The superlatives for Maxy in this format ran out a while ago. For Cockbain this is new territory of consistency and quality. The Jessop Tavern have always rated Cockbain. Every year we wonder if he'll get a fair chance and every year he does, only for him to then average 25, usually with a hundred tucked away somewhere to tempt us with what he can do.

This year has been different. Given the responsibility of batting at 3 he has looked at ease with the position. A player reaching maturity and understanding how his game fits into the rest of the team and the position of the match. This season he has played biffing innings, taking the attack to the opposition. He has also played second fiddle, ticking over a polite 30 odd at a run a ball whilst O'Mish or Maxy run amok at the other end. He has also seen things through. 11 innings. 4 not outs. Batting at 3 that is an excellent return.

Gloucestershire now head to Cheltenham full of confidence. Top of the table with only two games remaining. A home T20 quarter final looks very possible, and from there anything is possible.

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