Monday, 12 May 2008

FP Trophy Weekly Round-up

All eleven games ended in a result again this week. Fantastic! And there were plenty of runs to be had in the sunshine…

Sussex played host to Surrey on Thursday at Hove and were forced to field first. The Browncaps racked up 346-3 off of their fifty overs with a rapid fifty for James Benning (51), a slightly more pedestrian one for Mark Ramprakash (63) and a superb unbeaten hundred from Usman Afzaal (126*). Nobody failed though with Scott Newman hitting 43 and Ali Brown blazing a quick fire 40 not out. Young Left Arm Spinner Thomas Smith was comfortably the best Sussex bowler, finishing with respectable figures of 1-41 from his ten overs. Most of the Sussex line up got starts, but nobody was able to go on. Captain Chris Adams was the top scorer with 40, although four other players made scores in excess of thirty. Jade Dernbach (3-56) was the most successful Surrey bowler as Sussex could only manage 279-8. Afzaal completed a fine allround game with bowling figures of 2-42 from ten overs, while Matt Nicholson also took two wickets (2-59).

Friday’s game saw Gloucestershire pay a visit to Glamorgan, where they opted to field first. The Dragons were soon reduced to 92-5. Young Tom Maynard briefly impressed with a breezy 29, but the real mainstay of the innings was another youngster, Ben Wright, who hit 60 as Glamorgan closed on 202-8. There were two wickets apiece for Captain Jon Lewis (2-29), Steve Kirby (2-44) and Mark Hardinges (2-30). Buoyed by their recovery, the Dragons soon reduced the Gladiators to 16-3, with Alex Gidman, Hamish Marshall and Marcus North falling cheaply. Jason Gillespie was in inspired form and the game looked to be very much in Glamorgan’s favour. However, Craig Spearman (66) and Chris Taylor (66*) rebuilt the innings impressively and David Brown (45*) helped to take them over the finishing line with a cool 5.4 overs to spare.

From left to right: Glamorgan build a respectable but inadequate total, Jason Gillespie puts early pressure on Glos, and Taylor and Spearman guide Glos home under the lights. (Pics c/o RTE)

Saturday’s offering came from Northamptonshire, where the Leicestershire Foxes were the visitors. The Foxes amazingly rattled up 268-6, with HD Ackerman (139) the only man to score more than 23! Johann van der Wath was the most successful Steelbacks bowler, taking 2-41. The Northamptonshire reply was in tatters at 98-5, but Niall O’Brien (95) took his side close. Johann Louw (35*) and Monty Panesar (17*) had too much to do in the final over however and they finished seven runs shy, with eight wickets down. Ryan Cummins (2-35), Nadeem Malik (2-45), Garnett Kruger (2-65) and Claude Hendersen (2-38) all took two wickets for Leicestershire.

And now to Sunday’s action. Hampshire were well and truly trounced at New Road by Worcestershire. Shorn of a number of experienced players, including both of their wicket keepers, Hampshire were only able to post 209 after stand-in skipper James Adams decided to bat. Greg Lamb top scored with 84, having been given his chance higher up the batting order. Simon Jones was in lethal form, taking 5-32, reminding those present of what he is capable of. Worcestershire reached their victory target in just 27.3 overs. Every Hampshire bowler was embarrassed by Vikram Solanki (81), Steven Davies (72*) and Moeen Ali (42*), bar Billy Taylor (1-43). The Hawks remain rooted to the bottom of the South-West table.

Northamptonshire were in action again, this time at Edgbaston, where Warwickshire batted first and made 232-8, largely thanks to centurion Jonathan Trott (120*). It is worth asking just what Northamptonshire are doing for English cricket though (other than Monty) as they used six bowlers, of whom five were ex-South African internationals. The only English bowler was the ageing Jason Brown (1-34). He happened to bowl the least amount of overs and was back up to Johann van der Wath (2-45), Andrew Hall (3-39), Johann Louw (0-43), Nicky Boje (1-33) and Lance Klusener (1-33). The batting display was at least led by an Englishman, in Stephen Peters (97*), but Rikki Wessels (another South African Kolpak) was the other main contributor (78), as the Steelbacks won with 4.3 overs to spare. David Sales, Rob White and Irishman Niall O’Brien were in fact the only other players not of South African origin. Incidentally, Neil Carter (3-31) was the top wicket taker for the Bears, another veteran South African…

Essex chose to bat first at The Brit Oval and they put Surrey to the sword in style. Captain Mark Pettini (who had the dubious honour of making a pair in mid week) smashed 144 from 120 balls and featured in a 269 run opening partnership with Jason Gallian (117). Ryan ten Doeschate (60) and James Foster (46) kept up the pressure with strike rates of 200, as the Eagles made an intimidating 391-5. Pedro Collins was the best bowler taking 2-55, while Jade Dernbach went for 107 from his ten overs. Perhaps Surrey need to think about their policy of playing only four frontline bowlers. They could only make 235 in reply, David Masters (5-17) and Graham Napier (3-41) doing the damage, with only Mark Ramprakash making fifty (98).

At one point it looked as though Durham were going to be the latest county side to succumb to Scotland. However, even though they only posted 181-9 from their fifty overs, the Dynamos achieved victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method by restricting Scotland to 52-5 from17.1 overs, over 40 runs shy of where they needed to be. The stars of the show were of course the bowlers. John Blain (3-31) and Dewald Nel (2-42) impressed once again for the Saltires and were joined by Glenn Rogers (2-36), while Callum Thorp took 2-16 for Durham. Steve Harmison took 1-15 from 4.1 overs.

Nottinghamshire overcame Leicestershire at Trent Bridge in a tight low scoring affair. 197 all out was the best the Foxes could muster and the Outlaws got home off of the final ball of their allotted fifty overs, with just two wickets remaining. For the Foxes there were fifties for Boerta Dippenaar (51) and Paul Nixon (75), while Darren Pattinson was once again impressive, taking 4-35. England hopeful Samit Patel also impressed with 3-34. Despite James Allenby’s (4-27) and Nadeem Malik’s (3-21) best efforts, Matthew Wood (50), Will Jefferson (34), Mark Wagh (37) and Adam Voges (35) scored enough between them to ensure victory for the Outlaws.

Lancashire emerged victorious in the Roses match at Old Trafford via the Duckworth-Lewis method. Yorkshire totalled 204-7 from a reduced 45 overs, Jacques Rudolph leading the way with 65. Kyle Hogg impressed for the Lightning taking 3-27 from ten overs. Lancashire reached their target with an over to spare thanks mainly to Francois du Plessis who hit an unbeaten run a ball 77, to rescue his side from 76-5. Darren Gough (3-45) and Tim Bresnan (2-45) were the best bowlers on offer for Yorkshire.

Sussex lost their second game of the week, this time to Kent at Canterbury, where a score of 218-9 was not good enough, despite Michael Yardy’s fifty (54). Simon Cook continued his impressive limited overs form, taking 3-41, while their were two wickets apiece for Yasir Arafat (2-31) and England hopeful James Tredwell (2-33). Kent made it home with 7.5 overs remaining for the loss of only one wicket. Joe Denly (83*) and Martin van Jaarsveld (109* - another impressive score) were the stars for the Spitfires, against an attack which lacked penetration. Mushtaq Ahmed cannot return soon enough for the Sharks and it is evident just how dependent they are on him.

Our final game takes us to Bristol where Gloucestershire chose to field first against Somerset. Justin Langer brought his impressive midweek form into this game, scoring 112 not out. Late hitting from Peter Trego (56) took the Sabres to 290-6. Mark Hardinges (3-60) and Steve Kirby (2-58) were the main wicket takers for the Gladiators. In reply, Craig Spearman upstaged Langer with an unbeaten 140 and he saw the side home along with Steve Adshead (41*), with ten balls remaining. Steffan Jones (3-53) was the pick of the Somerset bowlers.

Player of the Week: For his unbeaten 126 and 2-42 against Sussex (he also scored a rapid 43 against Essex), this weeks player of the week is Surrey’s Usman Afzaal. I reserve a special mention meanwhile for Craig Spearman (66 and 140*).


Len_The_Yorkshire_Kit_Man said...

Have to agree about Afzaal. The move to the Oval seems to have done him the world of good.

River Taff End said...

Some pics added

Tim said...

Agreed about Afzaal too. He's started in cracking form. Shame about Essex though!

Chrispy said...

And who doesn't have Afzaal in their fantasy side? Not many I bet!

Thanks again River Taff!