Somerset 214 (40 overs). Surrey 189-5 (27.3 overs) Surrey won by 5 wickets (D/L method)
Somerset are the new South Africa. No, I don’t mean they’ve got Y Fronts on their flag (or logo) I mean they always find a way to choke on the big occasion.
Looking at the teams before the CB40 final, Somerset seemed to hold all the aces: Trescothick, Buttler, Hildreth, Kieswetter and Trego would’ve fancied their chances of taking Surrey’s attack apart – especially when news broke that Surrey had surprisingly left out their Lions seamer Stuart Meaker.
Then there’s the bowling attacks. Somerset boasted Alfonso Thomas, arguably the best death bowler in county cricket, and Murali Kartik, who is arguably the best spinner.
Surrey’s batting looked inexperienced, albeit talented, on paper; their bowling, Jade Dernbach apart, looked rather buffet.
However, as India’s batsmen know now, cricket isn’t played on paper. It’s what you do on the pitch that counts.
What Somerset did was this: they played a succession of rubbish shots, threw their wickets away, and only got a half decent total because Joss Buttler hasn’t played for the county long enough to become infected with the disease. His 86 was a gem; shame he ran out of partners.
When Somerset tried to defend their meagre 214 (reduced to 186 off 30 overs after the inevitable rain delay) their bowlers were blown away by Surrey’s highly impressive young guns. Rory Hamilton-Brown’s 78 was the archetypal captain’s knock.
Although things could’ve got edgy when the skipper was run out by his batting partner Zander De Bruyn, some late hitting by the unheralded Matthew Spriegel saw ‘the Lions across the line’ (I’m sure there’s a Tony Greig 12th Man gag in there somewhere).
Surrey were the best team throughout the CB40 tournament this summer, and they surely deserved their success. However, with Lord’s possibly less than half full, questions must be asked.
The first question is ‘why do they play these games in the middle of September when the weather is distinctly autumnal?’ The second is ‘why on earth do we play 40 overs rather than 50 in our domestic one-day tournament?’
Are we deliberately trying to sabotage England’s chances of winning a World Cup?
When asked this very question last year, Giles Clarke responded ‘well, South Africa are the number one team in ODI cricket at the moment, and they play 40 overs, so it can’t be that harmful’.
Well, Mr Clarke, I’d like to ask you a third question: ‘how many ODI trophies have South Africa won?’ About the same as Somerset, I’d say.
Now now. We did win the ’98 ICC Champions Trophy.
And we only struggled to win anything before 92, by the mere fact that we were not allowed to play along.
Apart from that we have done well in both rankings. And beaten Australia in Australia with our last test series there.
So, we are no Somerset.
But, I hear you. We sure have created a tag for ourselves.
Just talking about ODIs and World Cups. The South African Test team is a machine! Bit of an old cliche to bring up S.Africa’s world cup chokes, but it’s just a bit of banter ;-)