29 August 2010

Draaawww and Blaaawww

(match post delayed because of Pakistan betting scandal, apologies)

Derbyshire v Middlesex

Highlights
[day 1] [day 2 washed out] [day 3] [day 4]

The season is obviously fizzling out, instead of itching to get the post out I feel more like ahh blahh drawwww...
Although, one has to admit, the match had its moments. Middle looked a lot better than in the humiliating CB40 defeat they suffered against Derby a few days ago.

Newman shone with yet another well-composed ton, the old skipper grabbed 7 wickets and Pedro Collins and Toby 4 each, Dex was 92* before he declared :) Owais Shah fielded like his life was depending on it, and Chris Rogers, the man on the Middle radar, made 75 and 96.

Middle nearly managed to force Derby down to their knees;  on the last day 5 wickets had fallen in the space of 20 minutes and there was one hour of play left, but Derby stopped the collapse, dug themselves in, and the umpires declared the match drawn. The thing that impressed me most were Shaun Udal's 7 wickets but it's also great to see Dexter and Roland-Jones keeping on blossoming.

The actual talk of the match circled around the future of the Middle stocks. IOB will not play any matches anymore this season, Pedro is sitting on packed suitcases as due to a lack of international cricket his Kolpak status runs out and Middle will probably not re-sign him as one of their two overseas players then. Malan hmm-hmm-hmm, Morgan departs, although the latter has more or less been replaced already due to his long ECB-induced absence. So basically there's gonna be a hole in the middle order and in the bowling. Well I've already expressed my views in terms of batting (Housego) but as Middle are eyeing Chris Rogers and there was also talk about maybe trying to get Phil Hughes back as an overseas player next season and so on and so on the Housego wagon has probably derailed... he also had a couple of unlucky fielding scenes in the match. The Pedro spot has been left completely unspeculated about yet, I'm sure we will get a few grapevines talking soon.

My current Middle ranking:

1) Dexter - a revelation
2) TRJ - I'm shamelessly riding the hypewagon, it's a good wagon!
3) Owais - the rock you can build on

So that's it for now,

Cheers,
Wes

I want to vomit - someone tell me this isn't true!!!!

Pakistan: News Of The World exposes huge betting scandal - Link includes video

I am absolutely shattered. Still hoping it is set up, not true, a scam...
Aamer?? Asif?? Heck, our dear Salman Butt the ringleader? Kamran Akmal well no one ever thought he was clean... but the other three? This can't be true, it can't!!! But it is obviously on all news channels already.

Sorry for this incoherent shit. I can't think straight

How many times has it happened that a Pak player you really liked has twisted the knife in your stomach and then dug his hands into your guts? I've stopped counting. But Aamer is absolutely shocking. Heck, the guy could have ruled his own kingdom!!! If the accusations are true he'll be gone. I can't frickn wrap my head around it.

edit,
links of articles by News Of The World:


Detailed analysis of Aamer's and Asif's no balls - gutwrenching :((((

Meeting with the players, money is handed over, Salman supposed to bat a maiden over, Wahab Riaz

Pakistan had been planning to throw two of the ODIs v England

Majeed reveals all about the Sydney Test and the profits, ball tampering with vaseline


...

27 August 2010

Mills kills in a lost cause

India v New Zealand


I think the Kiwis had been lucky to receive half of the points from the washout against the Lankans, otherwise the humiliation would have been even worse. After their thumping win over India in the first encounter you would have expected NZ to pull the pants into the right position and go in with a bit more confidence. But losing the toss to a side that mainly consists of a determined Sehwag is always a blow to the morale, yet the Kiwis bowled their arses off and Timmy with 4-49, a superb Nathan McCullum with 3-35 and the two obligatory Mills kills rocked the Indian line-up, with the tiny flaw of Sehwag making bloody 110. Doom over the world, that was too much.

In my naive head I actually thought for some idiotic reason the total would be chaseable, until someone wrote something like "brittle batting line-up... Dambulla...". That felt like hammer on head. I seriously had totally forgotten about that, and all you could do in the end was watch the Sheepies go down. "Go" is the wrong word, they literally raced back into the hutch. Not sure why exactly the departure of an anti-hero like Martin Guptill triggers a collapse, because at the moment I am seriously reassessing my Seventoes campaign; it really took him a lot of time and hard labour to get me off his bandwagon (and I am still on it with half a foot for the mere reason of being physically unable to stop believing in him) but Martin G really is really doing his best to get axed. In fact it's a miracle he's still around. The rest of the batting line-up simply disgraced themselves in such an unspeakable manner that I don't want to talk about any of them, except for...


Kyle Mills

Kyle Mills is such a pleasure to watch, I can't throw my hands to the sky often enough and thank the lord for making him whole again haha. Oh man! His return demonstrates impressively how the Kiwis lacked edge during his absence. If Kiwistan had just one or two more of his kind they could hunt down the enemy like a horde of rampaging ogers. Go Millsy roll 'em!

Timmy Time: 4-49  |  Mills: 2-42, 52 off 35 (7x4, 3x6)  (c) Cameraworx/Live Images, AFP

Well well. Ross Taylor's string of successes has unfortunately got torn, but the problem lies a lot deeper. Kiwis can bowl, nobody would doubt that. But last night I caught myself thinking: What if they employed more Kolpak-sort-of batsmen, simply to get their international campaign up a level? Not saying that Grant Elliot is the next Sachin, but if you look around in county cricket for instance it makes you cry to see how many awesome Saffas are around who will never get the chance to play for a national side. What works for England could work for NZ as well, especially as unlike England NZ can obviously not produce the required batting depth on their own (while England have only just started bothering again). Out of the top of my head I cannot name a single awesome Kiwi batter, except for Ross that is, but even he has a steep learning curve to master. Thus nobody (I hope) would ever sledge the Kiwis as much as the English for any foreign players in the line-up, simply because everybody knows how much effort that little country puts in their cricket, especially if you consider that cricket is not their main concern in terms of sports. But the gap between domestic and international cricket is just so wide that the vast majority of attempts to lift the batting fails tragically. I know that a greater amount of legionaries in the side would maybe diminish the incentive for native Kiwis to aim at playing professional cricket, so maybe that's a shot in one's own knee then.

There have been suggestions around that NZ or NZ domestic teams should take part in the Australian domestic tournaments and I am highly in favour of that, alas it is not doable, although from an Australian perspective I would imagine it as utterly tempting, it would increase the attractiveness of the Shield matches enormously, if a some sort of New Zealand A team could join. Another possibility would be to somehow try and stuff more players into county clubs or allow for them in the Oz state teams. Not sure though if the Aussie clubs would make use of that offer. I am really out of ideas on how to solve the dilemma...

This was probably just a whole lot of tripe but imho NZ are that one minnowish side who really deserve to do better, they are such good bowlers and fielders and they need to find a way to expose themselves to top class cricket more often and become more competitive.

Blablablubb,

If you want a proper Kiwi blog by someone who is not a walking conniption fit, check this out: 


Cheers,
Wes

25 August 2010

Kung Footitt v Middlesex - Photo Story

Derbyshire v Middlesex (CB40)


Highlights video below

Middle got Wagged and kicked in the guts by the Kung Fooman. Bowling started off so well, Pedro grabbing three and Toby bowled like the the total man (... he is), alas, increasing sloppiness induced by the high meaninglessness factor of the game, and downright abysmal batting saw Middle slump to a really embarrassing defeat. Look at the scorecard above to find out more...

I took a couple of screens, there won't be a lot more matches this summer for me to watch, so I concentrated my efforts on snapshooting. For the whole gallery (about 80 or so pics, raw PNGs) click HERE.


Pedro Collins licks his lips in anticipation of a nice Derbyshire top order roast

"Two wickets for me please!" Tim Murtagh has big wishes

Try to hit that damp spot

Wes Durston

Toby Roland-Jones comes in first change

Rain halts play

Bowling figures so far

Play resumes

Toby Roland-Jones gets dropped by... umm... not relevant :P
Biting my butt for not catching the offender's embarrassed smile :(

Rainbow over the County Ground

Neil Dexter is rather hopeful

Owais Shah not so much I reckon

Lesson: Toby Roland-Jones is not yet a good death bowler

Owais Shah in the field

Happy Neil Dexter

Death at the death... Toby Roland-Jones bowled out with ruined figures

John Simpson bats

Derby skipper Greg Smith has removed Simpson

County Ground, Derby

Graham Wagg waggs the Middle

Mark Footitt comes on

Gareth Berg smiles once again after a cheeky shot to the boundary

Gareth Berg lbw Mark Footitt

Mark Footitt

Neil Dexter tries to glue the innings together...

... to no avail: Tim Murtagh departs

Wes Durston removes the skipper, match over

Mark Footitt

A copple o' rons after a fomble






Cheers,
Wes

22 August 2010

So close, yet so far

Yorkshire v Middlesex (CB40)


View highlights below

Ah well. Middle needn't be ashamed. They've had a sniff, a sniff in the match of the bullies against the total underdogs. They battled hard, I am not too sad. Rampaging Jacques Rudolph (124*) could not be stopped, but that's in his nature, can't blame the Middlebowlers for that. Restricting Yorks to 250 when everybody expected at least 25 more was a massive success. Toby is such a good boy. Gale and Rudolph hammered the opening bowlers at will, but Toby came in and removed Gale (36) and then his successor Lyth (3). From this point on things went Middlesex' way, Anthony McGrath made 68 but the rest of the Yorkshire Puddings failed to score more than 8. The powerplay, in which they had planned to hit the bowlers out of the ground, backfired exemplarily. In the end Tim Murtagh charmed everybody again with 3 for 35 at 4.37. Toby went at nearly 7 but took 3 essential scalps as well. Horrific figures for Robbie Williams, 0-56 from 6 overs at an econ. of nearly 9.33. Tidy work from the skipper again, the man keeps growing on me with every single match. Overall Pedro Collin's absence was made up for well. I would like to mention that the Lord of Light took another stunner of a one-handed catch to remove Adam Lyth.

His friends call him Dexy, I call him awesome.  (c) Getty Images
The second innings started so promising, Newman sported the right attitude again, batted beautifully and made 77 off 70. His wicket hurt Middle like ****, and to add insult to injury, it was lbw Bresnan. Arghh! But neither Simpson, nor Shah and Malan, who all went out to more or less unnecessary shots, could score big and this eventually resulted in Middlesex' doom. The middle order imploded entirely, Gareth Berg (who had been sent in ahead of Neil Dexter), Tom Scollay, Shaun Udal and Tim Murtagh all departed without any mentionable contribution.

But what followed was a heartbreaking and desperate fight for survival by the skipper and the awesomely courageous Toby Roland-Jones (yes I am openly campaigning for him, so what :P). Middle had always been a handful of runs behind Yorkshire, but after the 36th over, when also Murts had already departed, the situation became precarious. Middlesex were 8 down and Dexter and TRJ tried to force the ship into the haven; 43 from 24 were needed and Toby gave his all to support his captain as good as he could. In the end he had made more runs than the majority of his fellow batsmen, 23 not out off 18, including a six that gave all Middle supporters enough hope for a win, and plenty of smart and lightning-quick running. Dexter at the other end of the crease seemed an ideal, calm and very determined senior partner for Toby, 56* off 43 balls runs came off his bat, 6 fours took Middlesex closer and closer to the target. The last two overs required some thoughtful T20 batting, 23 from 12 balls were needed, Middle approached the job positively and left 13 runs for them to get from the last over. Unfortunately it was bowled by Anthony McGrath. Over, out, Middx fell 5 runs short of a tie. But what a fight that was! Both Dex and Toby had sunk their teeth right in. I am very proud of their efforts, and generally Middlesex did not embarrass themselves at all here. What hurts is the fact that they had Yorkshire in a position in which they could have defeated them, there was a realistic chance for an upset! With two slogs from Malan the cake could have been eaten. Ah well. It was a great and entertaining match, I've enjoyed it a lot.




On a side note:
Read half-tracker's epic and absorbing analysis of the topic that has been occupying every sane person's thoughts:
Jimmy Adams and England - A future marriage?

Cheers
Wes

19 August 2010

In The Sign Of Newman

Glamorgan v Middlesex

[scorecard] [div. 2 table]

highlights
[day 1] [day 2] [day 3] [day 4]

The thing that should not be. Not after ruining Middlesex' season.
(c) Getty Images
Middlesex have won a match, would you believe it. Yes you would, because it took place in Cardiff, was hence an away match and Middle like playing away from home. Sometimes I think a curse lies on Lord's when the Pink Brigade are playing. Let's first get past the bitter moments... Mark Cosgrove went for 0 and 11, both times to Pedro Collins. I am not blaming Cos for that, we know that he is awesome. Pedro just had a cracker of a match again. The second bitter pill to swallow was Scott Newman being in the runs again. Which essentially and definitely derails the Dan Housego bandwagon. Pisses me off. Just imagine how much better Middlesex could have fared throughout the season, if Newman had played on this level continuously. Because quite obviously he is able to.

But let's turn to the nice aspects of this match. Glammy decided to bat first and would soon realise that the decision was debatable. 198 all out... and they only got there because Middlesex were of course unable to remove the tail. Dalrymple and Maynard topscoring with 37 each tells you all you need to know.

Middle batted at the end of day 1 with above mentioned Newman and Malan at the crease, due to Simpson and Shah departing way too cheaply. On day 2 Middle imploded like a TV set made in Soviet Russia, could not even chase Glamorgan's total and were all out for 181 with 7(!) batsmen not making it past 4 runs! Newman fell agonisingly short of an admittedly well-deserved hundred and IIRC played a nervy shot to kill himself on 99.

In reply Glammy reached 232 with Allenby nearly making a ton and Maynard nearly making half of that.  However, the rest didn't look too exciting, and eventually the pitch got a bit better, or the bowlers a bit crapper, and Middle cruised home comfortably, with notable contributions by Newman once again (64), Owais Shah (47), a very fine innings by Dawid Malan (84*), who basically saw Middlesex home with his knock, and Gareth Berg's 30*; once more he's at the crease when Middlesex cross the finishing line.

What triggered excited cheers and shouts at the receiving end of the coverage was the bowling of Tim Murtagh, hence the extra mention. Murtle is an incredible performer, took 3 at 1.98 in the first innings and added another 3 in the second. Pedro Collins removed 4 of the Dragons in the first innings, Toby Roland-Jones hit his teeth into the dragon's tail and didn't let go, 4 for 54 in the second innings, a bit pricey this time but effective. Need to mention the tidy and reliable bowling of the Skipper here, 4 wickets at about 2.50, what a consistent performer. Neil Dexter is really developing into one of my favourite Middle players.

Was quite a nice match, and good practice for TRJ.

Read half-tracker's blog on Hamza Riazuddin's awesome win over Leicestershire in the CB40...
... and look at his insightful analysis of the Hampshire 2nd XI!

Happy Hamza Day everybody, make the best of it!

I'm out.

Cheers,
Wes

18 August 2010

Greedy Little Fingers

Pink suits him.  (c) Getty Images
Middleboy Josh Davey grabbed sensational 5 for 9 at 1.22, including two caught-and-bowleds, in Scotland's second ODI against the shooting stars Afghanistan, after the bagpipes got battered by them in the first match. It nourishes my hope that he could replace a departing Malan at some point, as Middlesex are agonisingly short of bowlers who can remove a tail, and another good bowling option that mainly bats -traditionally lower down the order- could come in more than handy. Also it won't be of disadvantage to play both an actual Berg and an emerging Berg. Not saying that anyone could ever match Gareth Berg the Messiah of county cricket, but you know what I mean. Josh has already proven that he is able to hold an innings together under pressure.

We will have to wait and see which other changes are taking place in the near future, the grapevine whispers of Shaun "King" Udal's soonish retirement; I suspect Tom Smith has already reserved that spot for himself, could need a bit of work on his batting though but I generally like this option. Robbie Williams would probably be another possibility, there is no shortage of this category of players. 

Newman the git has done a classical North and pulled his head out of the noose right when he should have been dropped already but was stuck to for reasons you only understand after a bottle of Absinthe. I would have loved to see Dan Housego in his place but poor Dan will have to look into the cat's butt now that Newman has played two useful innings. Very annoying. Maybe Middle should trade him, that would be the most elegant option. I heard Hampshire are looking for a batsman *g* Not the worst deal, if you consider that they just rid themselves of Kevin Pietersen in the most irresponsible manner and chucked him into Middlesex' general direction. Which leaves us hoping that Kay Pee's international form improves QUICKLY. And Steven Finn is the Victoria Beckham of Cricket.


That was today's comprehensive Middle drivel.

Cheers,
Wes

16 August 2010

Finals Day: Mission Impossible Accomplished.

Friends Provident T20 Finals Day

Hampshire v Essex
Nottinghamshire v Somerset
Hampshire v Somerset

This is my humble attempt to find appropriate words for my perception of the FP T20 Finals Day, a bubbly fountain of joy for all those that love romantic surprises, and bitter disappointment for everyone who likes to cheer for the favourites.


Somerset i.e. Kieswetter

Somerset really made me go schizo last night. First I lost it in a full-blown happyfit when they D/L-ed Notts out of the competition and, despite yet another Kiesfail and a severe middle order collapse, found an anchor in Jos Buttler, whose 55 not out combined with the brutal 60 off 28 Trescothick hammered at the start were enough for them to secure their spot in my personal dream final... only to annoy the good out of me when said Craig Kieswetter found his form back just in the final clash against Hamps, and knitted a patient and well-pondered 71 of 59, by which he paradoxically managed to make me go grrr at him while he was actually scoring! Of course now that Hants have won all grump has gone and I am happy about his good effort. Keep marching Kies! Yeah I may be a bit protective about him now but that's because all rats have left the sinking Kieswagon and somebody has to stick to him *g* Of course he was rather crap behind the stumps but I hope that Jos Buttler will not threaten him yet but it might happen pretty soon, so it would be particularly important that he starts to shine with the bat again. Go Kies!

Most versatile surname in cricket: Craig He'sbetter (but Keepcrapper)   (c) Getty Images


Nottinghamshire

Broad (!)/ Swann (!)/ Sidebottom and Dussey / Nannes under one and the same blanket? Sorry, dudes and dudettes, but I hate anchovies on my apple tart! Means Nothinghamshire to me really.


Essex

Pitifully not Sussex. Therefore, I don't even have the faintest of memories of their appearance. Oh yeah there was an annoying guy called Pettini batting for them. And Alastair Cook, a man like a bar of yuckily mint-flavoured chocolate, made a scratchy 38, for which he is now being praised as the big come back kid... wth??? And Dwayne Bravo failed over the whole distance but couldn't get bothered to bother.


Hampshire

Hampshire are awesome. Apart from the players to who I dedicated the extra odes below I would like to praise the blond trinity in the shape of Jimmy Adams, Danny Briggs and the eternal Dominic Cork. Jimmy made 34 in both matches, how weird, but these were essential runs! His wicket is always the most agonising of moments, in which you think why oh why??? But even if he made 150 in each match you would still beg him to stay. Such is the Adams. Yes, after resisting the Adams cult for half an eternity I'm a nearly fully-fledged convert now.

Jimmy Adams - the most agonising of all Hampshire wickets, always  (c) Getty Images


Briggs and Cork on the other hand had blown me out of the socks right from the start. Their consistency is doing my bloody head in. While in the case of Cork you could argue that his penetrating power is based on a combination of experience, outstanding leadership qualities, skill and extraordinary fitness Briggs is only 19!!! But he delivers time and time again, a genuine wicket taker with an utterly reliable low economy. In the semi he took 3-29 and in the final 1-30 and Cork tends to bowl him out very early to get hold of the wickets. Cork himself, who I usually just call "Corker", is a phenomenon. You could put a concrete block in front of his nose and he would get his teeth right in (Kieron Pollard will confirm). Please Corky if you read this: Sign it. SIGN IT!

Last but not least: Abdul Razzaq!! Not bad brother, not bad! Stepped up utterly with bat and ball, my eyes fell out! We all know the great potential slumbering inside our favourite troglodytic allrounder, but on Finals Day he burst open like a flower on a beautiful morning! Let numbers speak: his 4 overs at 5.57 put Essex under enormous pressure, what a tidy spell that was! He went on to score 44 off 31 and thus gave Hants a super start into their innings. In the final he took 2-37, removed the extremely dangerous Trescothick before the Somerset boss could start to batter anyone, and later on he took Hildreth out and scored 33 off 19. What a lovely player!!

Abdul Razzaq: like a flower in the morning *g*  (c) Getty Images


Sean Ervine

Slug couldn't bowl because of his back injury but his job on that night was a completely different one! His quickie-sort-of cameo in the first semi final, in which he smashed a four and a six off Dwayne Bravo, provided Hamps with the kick in the arse they really needed at that time, it was like an injection of pure SlugPower into the innings and laid the foundation for Carberry's and McKenzie's muscular finishing moves. But his big time in the limelight was yet to come in the grand final!

SuperSlug pt 1: "Briggs to Trego, OUT, what a catch by Sean Ervine! Plucked out of the air one-handed at long-off, and Trego departs! Ervine had actually mis-judged the effort, charging in from the rope as Trego lofted an inside-out drive towards long-off. As the ball neared him he realised his error, checking his run and putting his hand up to grab onto the ball. Big wicket" (Cricinfo). He was laughing and smiling blissfully all over his face and it was so great to see him starring in such a crucial match situation.

SuperSlug pt 2: SM Ervine 44* (31b 7x4). It's been a while since he has played such an innings in the FP T20, but in the final he clicked and all was good! While at the other end Mac and Carberry went out he managed to survive and somehow steal the victory from Somerset in a bizarre but successful collaboration with his bud Dan Christian. Does he have nerves like ropes, or was it his dopiness which the Hamps fans love about him so much? I think both :D

Good Slug = Happy Slug = Good Slug.   (c) Getty Images


Dan Christian

DC finds it really hard to make his way into the hearts of the cricket fans but Hamps for some reason have always played him and showed faith in him and often he contributed just that one crucial boundary or wicket that Hants needed in the respective circumstances. Although I am certainly not one of his greatest admirers we have to be grateful to Hampshire for giving him such a lot of match practice ahead of the Champions League T20, it will surely boost his confidence and increase his value for the Redbacks. I will be really sad when DC departs from Hampshire, which might actually happen immediately because I think he won't play a lot of matches for them anymore before the start of the CLT20. I hope they'll book him again next year, would be cool to see him in the colours of the Hamps Pamps once more. It took a sacrifice of epic proportions to convince me of his worthiness but I think he might have become one of my favourite Redbacks with this continuous display of gutsiness and dedication.

Clumsy Bumps gave his life for Hampsy Pamps - well done DC!   (c) Getty Images

Back to the final, DC's face looked like a rotten potato, if you know what I mean; he might not be a cricketing genius but he really gave everything for Hampshire; his house, his sanity, his life; he got nastily smashed in the gob in the previous CC match and bled from several wounds (that was the snuff movie in which also Lumb's foot was broken and Cork and Ervine sustained back injures) and now he pulled a hamstring scampering through for the second run from the penultimate ball. That was the moment when I absolutely lost it. Not only came Jimmy Adams out as a runner... but also a guy with a paint bucket, who in all his sweet time started to paint the crease. WTF?????????????? I was standing in front of the screen, fretting, fuming, and armed to my teeth with chairs, fridges and trains. He only just buggered off in time to save his life! The last ball was bowled and DC had a complete blackout and ran!!! Luckily fortune favours the bold and Somerset appealed in vain for LBW instead of running him out!!!! Later on in the interview, in which his battered face was beaming like an atomic pile, he admitted he had completely forgotten about his injury and the runner and just dashed off instinctively. Oh man!!! The match was tied and Hampshire won by fewer wickets lost!!! Does the modus operandi matter? NO!


Hampshire!!! Hampshire!!!

(c) LMI Photography


Some more material you might be interested in:

half-tracker's epic blog
is out, a view on Finals Day from the world's greatest Hampsman

Corky the legend
an epic tribute by Greyblazer

with some analysis and live recordings from the ground incl. a completely mental audio recording of the whole final over


Cricinfo galleries:

That's all from me for now, I hope you've enjoyed Finals Day as much as I did, I can't think of any better winner than Hants, and what sweetens the taste of this victory additionally is that Hampshire's much criticised decision not to select certain alleged star players and instead to reward those that had taken the team to the finals paid off so wonderfully, while other sides, who opted to put their fate in the hands of well-paid popular mercenaries, had to leave the Rose Bowl with empty hands.

Haters gonna hate...

Happy,
Wes

14 August 2010

No Kiwi Post Here

God. For now.  (c) Cameraworx/Live Images
Sri Lanka v New Zealand


Yeah I know, in the place of these few meagre lines there should be a long emo text about the Kiwis not quite winning against the Lankans, but Tim Southee and Nathan McCullum being in for Grant Elliot and injured Jacob Oram, BJ Watling scoring 55 on debut, Kane Williamson still requiring some patience and Kyle Mills being god. 

Unfortunately I couldn't be arsed to write it, as the anticipation of the Friends Provident T20 Finals Day was getting to me quite a bit. 

Sorry 


Oh yes a dead bird fell from the sky... probably an omen... (dead kiwi etc, you know...)

Cheers,
Wes

12 August 2010

Thanks For Nothing

Middlesex v Leicestershire



Ah well. After winning the toss and batting the first thing that happened was CARDHOUSE ALARM! Newman, Simpson, Shah, Malan out for a combined 27. Yippieh, exactly the start Dexter must have had in mind. He himself and the one whose name I hardly dare speak out because I'm not worthy put Middle back in the contention, Dexter put a patient 47 on the board and Berg topscored with 53. Udal and Roland-Jones folded quickly but! Tadaaaa! Tim "OMFG" Murtagh added a smooth, silky and sexy 50 to the score. Take a bow, the man deserves the Murtagh Stand! Maybe I should mention that a certain Matthew Hoggard was responsible for 6 of the casualties. Curse him! At the end of the innings Middle had racked up 219, not a mammoth total but enough to save their faces.

Murtle sticks out  (c) Getty Images
Leicester's first innings (282) went a bit better, but only marginally. Young James Taylor made a century and opener Greg Smith got 65, this and a few starts took Leics to 282. Pedro Collins and Toby Roland-Jones, awesome as they are, grabbed 4 each, Udal and Murtagh bowled beautifully. Rain affected a large part of day 2 but did not diminish the building tension that would culminate on the last day.

Middlesex' second innings started bloody well, the entire top order fired for a change and bloody Newman did the North and made bloody 70, which will save his bloody arse. But when the Nos. 1-3 had gone the innings started to turn silly, the middle order was largely useless and the tail got removed within the space of about 3 balls at the beginning of day 4. Leics had to chase 193 within about 2 sessions, the momentum had swung in their favour and only some majestic bowling could save Middlesex from yet another CC defeat.

Murtagh removed Smith first ball and du Toit only a few minutes later, insane eruptions of madness over here, but the total brain remover was Pedro's wicket of dangerman Taylor, who had to depart for a duck. That was when my grey mass folded inward for a moment. Middlesex kept bowling royally, Dexter gambled and brought Owais on, who got Nixon before the latter could become dangerous, but the biggest and most important scalp was probably opener Matthew Boyce (52), who got bowled by a wicked Udal delivery, which made the old man leap across the park like a goat kid, fist punching the air!

Rain interrupted play for a moment but Middlesex were chomping at the bit, eager to finish the job, but so were Leics, in particular Tom New! 80-odd runs to get from 18 overs with 5 wickets in hand, both teams on fire, what a spectacle for the supporters of either side... and suddenly it started to rain, covers came on, covers came off, players on, bad light, players off, players on, covers on because of rain.... a farce. And a draw.

Danke für nichts,

Cheers,
Wes

10 August 2010

Take that, villain of evil!

India v New Zealand (ODI)

Oh yippiehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

My hopes were existent, but faint... and now the Kiwis have just sat their butts down on India and defeated them by 200 (!) runs! Jesus! Ross Taylor -captain's knock!- and Scott Styris hammered almost-centuries, after NZ had won the toss, and in their attempt to reply India exposed their bellies to the irresistibly beautiful bowling of Daryl Tuffey. Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram were awesome, too. There is really not much else to say about this match, India of course are coming from a straining Test series against Sri Lanka and NZ are well-rested but their team is a mixed pile of old and new minus the essential veterans McCullum and Vettori, and the batting line-up didn't look too rosy either with Jesse Ryder busy bullshitting about. A victory of such epic dimensions comes as a real surprise, now I'm waiting for the highlights so that I can watch the key moments over and over again *sigh* Hopefully it wasn't a flash in the pan, seeing that the match was won by just a few players (and the unbelievable Indian collapse), but... the momentum is with the Blackcaps!

Thirsty heroes: Scotty Styris and Ross "LRPL" Taylor  (c) AFP

One thing though: Tim Southee didn't play. I understand the... no I bloody don't ! Play Southee for farks sake!!! He wouldn't have done worse with bat or ball than Williamson/Oram/McKay. In fact I think he could have strengthened the lower order with his power hitting. Well today he wasn't needed but I hope to see him in the coming matches. Obviously Williamson needs practice, and I wish him all the best, but no Tim, no glory.

However, that was fantastic.


Cheers,
Wes

8 August 2010

Going Down In Flames

Gloucestershire v Middlesex (CB40)

For the highlights incl. an Owais Shah interview please scroll down

Dex won the toss in a match with hardly any meaning for Middlesex in this competition, and maybe that's the recipe for Middlesex batting so beautifully. What a heartwarming effort. A wonderful century from Owais Shah, 82 from John Simpson, Gareth Berg 43, and Shaun Udal muscled 33 to take Middlesex to 299. Malan's runout on 4 is open to interpretation, I am cultivating my conspiracy theories. 

Newman's fail will probably only cause a few sad sighs, he's a bit like North, you have no choice, eventually you'll have to get used to him not getting dropped. The Dex Duck is forgiven, he's a mighty fine lad.

Bowling not that bad either, Murtagh reliable as ever removing two early on, Toby got knocked around a bit but took another one, and Tom Smith (glad to see him back) put one on the count as well. After that Gloucs recovered  and different things were tried by the skipper, even St. Berg came on to bowl. Hope his back is okay so far. 

But it was absolutely cursed, the wickets wouldn't come and as the Gloucs batting became more confident the Middle fielding got more nervous, with Simpson missing a big fat runout chance, silly throwing and general antics. 

The bowlers still tried to find a way to get a breakthrough but to no avail. The Gloucs batters battered on until the powerplay started, Pedro Collins came back on and picked up Taylor (85), and Snell (95) in the same over! Pedro sure didn't have the best of times in the last matches but today he was back, with a goodish economy and invaluable wickets. The powerplay continued with absolutely frantic batting and fielding, but Murtagh took another one, and it was 22 from 12 to win for Gloucs and Middle couldn't bring them down! 

As it was 9 to win from 3 Jon Lewis hit Murts for  two consecutive sixes, over, out, Gloucs won against Middlesex once again, and I am out of this miserable place for today.

BUGGER. Here are the highlights for all you epicures of torment:



Cheers,
Wes

6 August 2010

NORRRRRRRTH!

So the Australian selectors have confirmed Marcus North for the Tests in India. I obviously choked on my tongue when reading this last night and was going to write the maddest post ever. Today I just feel depressed about it. Depressed about the million chances wasted since the Australian summer, depressed about the loss of Steven Smith, depressed about the prospect of North stuffing up yet another home season - the most important one imaginable-, depressed about Hilditch selecting him indeed on grounds of his six wickets. Just a few people were afraid this could happen, everybody else laughed this absurdity off. Should have known it better.

Well there is still a bit of rage in me but the flame is fading. My Legsmith campaign will continue, but Stevie will only get another chance after North fails in the Ashes. Maybe. Probably not. They would rather select North's grandmother than dare to take a step into the future. Did I mention that Klutz will be back, at the expense of Tim Paine?
Gaaahh. GAHHHH.

Another thing that pisses me off massively is every single word uttered by Punter to the press. Can't he just shut up? Nobody wants to know that he is planning to take the Australian captaincy to the grave with him. Nobody wants to hear dross like "I am going to captain the team until I fall over and can't get up again". Stop bloody making a drongo of yourself you stubborn old donkey!!! And somebody forbid him to use the bullshit pullshot.


Grrrrrrr.
Wes

Tip: You are welcome to share any Oz-related moans with other grumpy people at Ian's Baggy Green Forum ;)

Middlesex made a mess...

Nothing new? Yeah. But still annoying, although I'm already over it.

Middlesex v Northamptonshire (CB40)

Highlights below

Alright I have to say that this was my maiden Toby viewing and, whatever may have happened, he's cool. Good news for Middlesex that he has signed a new 3-year-deal, much happiness at my end of the things about this decision. A rather crap decision was it of skipper Dexter to field first... especially given how Glamorgan got knocked across the park last night.




The line-up: SA Newman, JA Simpson†, OA Shah, DJ Malan, NJ Dexter*, GK Berg, TE Scollay, SD Udal, TS Roland-Jones, TJ Murtagh, PT Collins

No big surprises, but I was wondering a bit about Tom Scollay's inclusion, but as the boundaries had reportedly come in I thought that he would have been selected for his offspin. However, Dexter persisted with the five standard bowlers, out of which especially Pedro protruded as atrocious; Toby got belted as well, but bit himself through to better figures and took a key wicket; Dexter had so-so figures and Udal was awesome (given how the Northants batters beat the crap out of the bowlers). 




Murtagh was sooo the man, but who am I telling it. Regular readers of the blog will be familiar with the Murtle cult. More rays of light were provided by the eternally awesome Gareth Berg, an absolutely genial piece of fielding brought the run-out of Mal Loye, and later on he took a catch that stopped my heart from beating and gave me these annoying teary eyes again. But that was about everything mentionable about the first innings... Malan partly fielded as if he had already signed with Northants. Damn, I am smelling a traitor behind every bush now.




The batting was simply horrendous. If you are chasing 265 then you have to pull the pants up and make a fist of it. Simpson did so, 48 was the reward, alas not a matchwinning knock. I am happy though that he scored decently, he has not exactly been haunted by fortune in the past months. Newman, Shah (!) and Malan failed, which fuels my Malan suspicions uttered earlier, and Shah with 4 off 32 probably robbed the team of all winning chances.




The middle and lower order tried to repair the damage and knock off the runs, some moving attempts here by Berg, Scollay, Udal and Toby Roland-Jones (20*), who all got to 20-odd, but that was nowhere near enough to even get a sniff. Dexter was my actual hope, as I really like him as a batsman, but he went out for 20-odd as well.




You have to give credit to the Notts bowlers, they had not forgotten their ropes at home, they put them around the Middlebatters' necks and pulled them tight delightfully. None of them went for more than 6 per over and they took regular wickets. Willey, the poor man's Bracken, by who Notts tried to turn me around (try harder, guys), also earned a ribbon for a good catch at the boundary, but that's just one example of Notts' good efforts in the field.




However, that was nothing. Nonetheless I am glad about the opportunity to watch the match, it sweetened the drubbing quite a bit, and there were a few single performances that made me smile all around the head. :)

Cheerio, cheerio, I am off to happier shores,







Night,
Wes