Today sees a reasonable crowd for a work day rock up to the Oval for this Royal London one day match. Surrey need a win after two poor results – a loss today makes progression even more challenging- whilst Essex need to get back to winning ways after their shoddy performance against Middlesex.
Surrey are inserted – the tendency is for toss winners to field- and go off like the proverbial express train which then grinds to a halt as Roy retires hurt at 31/0: seems to be a lower back problem but the greater need is to protect him for the World Cup in just over a months time.
Essex start poorly and take time to get into gear – this approach could be costly but we shall see. Fifty in just over 30 minutes at over 6 per over is a good start by Surrey.
Again there is no ‘rabid’ PA announcer or Muzak for boundaries which is refreshing but what is annoying already is the lack of etiquette among spectators moving during the over seemingly mindlessly and regardless of their fellow spectators. Let’s hope it settles down!
At the end of two hours, Surrey reach 161/3 or is it really 4 as Roy has been injured or hurt and who knows if he’ll reappear? Anyway, all this off 32 overs with Burns gone for 55, an innings of fine stroke play after Surrey had stumbled to 52/3 but Foakes 37 no and Pope 14no look to steady the ship. The forecast at this juncture is for a score of 280/300 which could well be below par for what appears to be a straw coloured dry batting strip.
Surrey make 278/8 off their allotted 50 overs, Foakes making an excellent 82 but should really have gone on to more as Surrey, I think, have fallen short. What is noticeable here is that Surrey batsmen have not offered too many lofty shots preferring to score along the ground whilst Essex seem to favour diving for the ball whilst fielding. This looks good when it works, but awful when it doesn’t. Gloucestershire did the same on Sunday when Middlesex preferred their ground shots- perhaps there’s a theme developing?
After an hour Essex reach 53/3 with Paul Walter on RLC debut making his highest one day score of 25. A similar pattern to Surrey but the Duckworth has reached 101!
After two hours Essex have reached 142/5 off 31 overs so realistically anyone’s game but both Bopara 47 and Lawrence 50 have fallen within balls of each other having established a stand which looked to dominate the match but it all depends on the Essex lower order. Duckworth by this time is seeking 174. Surrey look very sharp in the field, much more so than Essex – who as I blogged on Friday seemed to be distracted or asleep or both or perhaps their focus is on the T20 later this summer rather than this early season tourney. Interestingly the wickets fall as the floodlights come on – a coincidence or…
The end soon follows as wickets fall with regularity and there’s no tail end resistance or fight as Essex succumb to 213ao in 42.5 overs and a first win for Surrey in this event. Interestingly 8 of the 10 Essex wickets fall to catches so perhaps ground strokes are the key to success? Best then not to keep it up!
So Surrey one win from three, Essex one win from three and with Middlesex losing, Gloucestershire and Hampshire winning and so forth…there’s more to this group as yet, I’m sure. Perhaps by the end of the week things will start to become clearer?