The cold of the wind from the Urals last week has been replaced at Lords but an icy draft direct from the polar ice cap…or so it seems. But when the clouds break and the sun breaks through some people are actually taking their jackets off! Most however are wrapped up as if it’s January!
After one hour Glamorgan reach 84/2 off 15 with Cooke 31no and the marvellously named Marnus Labuschagne 2no only having just arrived. Tight close bowling is the noticeable feature of Middlesex one day strategy this season and whilst depleted by international calls (Ireland in the main) or injuries they’ve continued this into this game. Roland Jones and Helm to the fore and Harris initially but it looks like Sowter will be the key. A minimum target of 290/300 is what Glamorgan need to set but it looks a tall order from here.
Labuschagne is clearly broad shouldered – he has to be since his shirt name extends almost from one armpit to the other ! There’s a prospect of a multiple letter dismissal (33 characters) later in the day but let’s see!
The second hour passes at speed as Glamorgan reach 165/4 off 30 Root 25no and Hemphrey 22no doing some rebuilding work after two wickets fell close together at 116/4. Sam Robson not only bowling but wicket taking! Middlesex seem a little at sea with Taylor making lots of suggestions for Eskinazi as captain to implement but then that’s what you want from your highly paid overseas player. Seven bowlers have been used and I suspect that Harris is either injured or out of sorts/favour as Scott, Holden and Robson have each had a bowl. Middlesex needed to find a fifth bowler in any event but if one of the mainstays is in doubt then you have issues which seem to be the case here.
Anyway Glamorgan still need another 120+ from the last hour and a bit to make a decent game of it, so it could be a bit of fun!
Well I got that wrong! Scott et al were the fifth bowler after all as Harris came back. He’s one of these bowlers whom you never know what version will turn up. He bowled between rubbish and buffet today but on other occasions I’ve seen him rip the middles out of an innings as if he’s eviscerating a chicken! Now that’s a word you don’t seem in many sports or cricket reports…’rubbish’ !
Glamorgan made 285ao in the 50th over with innings of note/class from Hemphrey 87 and Cooke 46. Sowter as suspected and Roland Jones got among the wickets (seven between them). I suspect that 285 is about 20/30 short of a good score but if Glamorgan bowl well and if Middlesex bat badly and if…and if…
Sixty minutes in to the innings and Middlesex are ahead of the duckworth at 92/1 off 15. Robson 50no and Gubbins 36no. This after Holden went without scoring in the second over. Glamorgan to their credit have stuck to it; they seem a completely different team and approach to the omnishambles I saw this time last year at Chelmsford where they just capitulated. And Middlesex too…a more positive approach to the one day stuff than last year. I assume both changes are due to fresh coaches – perhaps that’s what some other teams need? At this juncture Glamorgan need to take wickets to win whilst Middlesex need to keep to plan and it’s theirs!
One big issue with holding this tournament at this time of the season is the weather especially the temperatures. Easter was exceptionally warm but since then the weather has got cooler and cooler until today when finding any spot at Lords to keep warm was impossible. The Long Room was packed and even huddling over the radiators only brought temporary relief. How players only need short sleeves to play is beyond me.
One theory which held sway earlier in the tournament was that it was too cold for the ball to swing too much and perhaps today was that day too and explains why Sowter has had such good games – he’s clearly found it warm enough to run through sides like eviscerating a chicken!
An hour and 45 into the innings and just over half of the overs see Middlesex reach 152/4 – a couple of quick wickets bring Glamorgan back into some form of contention but I could take the cold no longer. Eskinazi, Simpson and Scott would see Middlesex home; not too much to spare and probably confirms that Glamorgan were 20/30 short.
Middlesex have probably surpassed themselves in climbing to 2nd in the South Division and in clear contention for a knock out round place; it all depends on the results on Tuesday.
The fixture list means this is the only time I’ll see Glamorgan this season (and only saw them once last) so the prospect of witnessing ‘Roland-Jones c Labuschagne b Van Der Gugten’ – a cluster of letters in a dismissal probably not seen outside Sri Lanka – will have to wait for a warmer time!