Monday, June 27, 2011

Afridi Five-Fer Repays Rose Bowl Patience

It was a while coming, but wasn’t it worth it! After a year and a half of waiting, Shahid Afridi finally made his Royals debut at The Rose Bowl, and what better way to announce his arrival than with a stunning 5-wicket haul to repay all those who had shown faith in him during his time away.

So enthralling was the sight of one of the best all-rounders in world cricket at his peak that the fact that Hampshire fought back following a tricky first innings to record a 16-run victory against Gloucestershire was somewhat eclipsed.

But the team’s mettle in rallying to snatch victory in a match that was interrupted by rain twice should not be underestimated. Nor should a valuable contribution of 47 with the bat from Jimmy Adams to give them the platform from which to build a score of 139.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rose Bowl Ready for Afridi's Royal Coronation

Hampshire play their first home T20 match in nearly two weeks when they take on Gloucestershire at The Rose Bowl on Friday night.
Having fitted in four away trips (to Gloucestershire, Somerset, Glamorgan and Essex) in that time, it will be the home fans’ first chance to see a side that has changed in a few considerable respects from that which beat Glamorgan by two wickets in their last home fixture.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Briggs Spins Web Around Dragons

Danny Briggs bowled and batted Hampshire to a fourth consecutive victory in the Friends Life t20 against a plucky Glamorgan side.

Having won the toss, the visitors were held tight on the crease and could only muster up a very modest target of 120; Briggs finishing with excellent figures of 4-24.

But following up, Hampshire made harder work of the chase than they might have, losing regular wickets after reaching the 50 mark.

However, that only served to give the crowd a thrilling finish as the Royals won by 2 wickets in the final over; fittingly, Briggs scoring the winning runs.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

West Indies not to play at Lords 2012.

West Indies are set to become the first touring team since the 1998 Sri Lankans to miss out on a Test at Lord’s, after it emerged that the England Wales Cricket Board had offered next summer’s fixture to Cardiff, in spite of the fact that the host county, Glamorgan, bid little more than half the £1million offered by MCC for the privilege.

Relations between the ECB and MCC hit a new low on Monday evening, when the launch of the new Sri Lanka Premier League, scheduled to be held in the Long Room on Thursday, had to be cancelled because the event clashed with a Friends Life t20 fixture between Middlesex and Essex.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jones Set to Fire Against Dragons

Friends Life t20

Wednesday 8 June 2011 (Start: 19:00)
The Rose Bowl

The Hampshire Royals will be looking for their fourth consecutive Friends Life t20 victory on Wednesday against the Glamorgan Dragons.

The match is due to start at 7.00pm at The Rose Bowl with gates opening at 5.30pm.

Hampshire manager, Giles White makes one change to the squad that defeated Kent Spitfires by twenty runs in a rain-hit, five-over-apiece match on Sunday.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir is rested for the fixture with Simon Jones potentially in line to deputise against his former employers. Jones got the nod in the aforementioned victory at Tunbridge Wells, taking two wickets for the price of just two runs in his one allowed over. However, such as substitution would mean a slight change in emphasis, swapping spin for seam.

Liam Dawson and Johann Myburgh are included in the squad and would both prove useful spin options despite both being more obviously recognised as batsmen. At the top of the order, meanwhile, Michael Lumb and Jimmy Adams will be looking to continue their excellent starts to the campaign. The pair combined to hit eight sixes in nine balls to guide their team to victory over the Spitfires on Sunday.

A victory for the Royals would extend their 100% winning record in the competition this season – a run which has taken the Rose Bowl club to the top of the South Group table.

The Opposition:
Glamorgan, meanwhile, have only played one match in the competition so far - a convincing win in a rain effected match against Middlesex. Captain Alviro Petersen made up 72 of the 199 runs his side posted in a match that was not only delayed by rain but also the malfunction of the flood lights part way through the Middlesex innings.

They name an unchanged squad, minus the injured Gareth Rees, for their trip to the South Coast so expect the Dragon’s big threats to come in the form of the first three batsmen. South African, Petersen has shown to be a leader in all formats, averaging close to 33 runs.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian opener Mark Cosgrove has returned again for another stint having scored more than 2,000 runs for the county in all competitions last season; a feat which also saw him become the third highest scorer in Twenty20 cricket.

These two, coupled with the Western Australian come Englishman, Jim Allenby - who is a powerful striker of the ball and a vital cog to Glamorgan in the shorter formats of the game, averaging 27.69 - should make Glamorgan a tough prospect on a Wednesday evening.

The orginal article was for Hampshire CCC and can be found here
Words: Stuart Appleby / Olly Reid


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cook in the sun at Lord's SL vs. ENG @Lords

Choice of game

Some people talk of making a pilgrimage to the holy turf of the home of cricket. For me it was about seeing the victorious England from a winter of triumph against Australia return to Lord's as holders of the urn, welcomed by a bursting crowd and glorious English sunshine.

Team supported
I spent one part of the winter watching England from the confines of the couch, with an extra blanket for warmth, and another being in Australia, witnessing the demise of my home country as it handed the Ashes to England. It would surprise most people to know that I wished for a good England side; with all that it had achieved, a strong showing for its home fans is what they deserved.

A radio is the only companion required for a Test match at Lord's. Henry Blofield's outrageous descriptions on Test Match Special of the game in front of you may annoy in any other format or place but his pomp and pronunciation provide the perfect backing track to all things English in a day at Lord's.

Key performer
Alastair Cook stood head and shoulders above his team-mates; a century on the opening day of Lord's would have been perfect but his nearly-100 nonetheless made the best impact. He was the only swimming rat when the ship seemed to be sinking in the opening session, and Cook carried his team and worked with Ian Bell to restore the English order.

Interplay I enjoyed
Eoin Morgan brought the Lord's crowd to life after Bell's fall for 52 runs. Prior to this Bell and Cook had shown caution in their pursuit of mending the English innings. It was Morgan who lit the fire, first against Rangana Herath: punishing him down the ground into the waiting laps of the MCC members, and then pushing the run-rate to a one-day level that had the crowd applauding.

Filling in the gaps
There is much to do at Lord's to pass the time. Some of this is always spent perusing the shop looking at souvenir after souvenir, thinking whether buying a paper weight with a bit of the turf hidden within it is a justifiable purchase, and how to explain this to the wife. Or there are the people, celebrities and eccentric Englishmen in full colour. Blazers are the choice garment at the pavilion but elsewhere you see the first signs of the end of winter as spectators wander the ground in shorts, revealing pale pairs of legs.

Player watch
While making his way towards the practice nets during the second session, Steve Finn stopped in front of a large throng of school kids and signed every miniature bat, cap, ticket or poster, not leaving one kid without his scribble. On completion of this mammoth task he was loudly cheered by the crowd.
Shots of the day
Cook reached and went past his fifty with three fours off Dilhara Fernando who tried in vain to pepper the Ashes hero with short balls.
Crowd meter
A full house greeted the sunshine that bathed Lords' to create an almost heavenly place to watch cricket. The sun warmed the spectators' necks as much as it warmed the playing field.
Marks out of 10
10. An almost-century, great bowling, attacking batting, a full house and the sun made this the best day of all the days I have attended at this sacred place of cricket.

This article was orginally for ESPN CricInfo and the orginal can be found by clicking here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lumb and Mascarenhas Star as Sabres are Put to the Sword

Hampshire started the Friends Life t20 campaign in style with a well-played seven-wicket win against Somerset at The Rose Bowl.

A blistering spell from the smiling assassin, Dimi Mascarenhas – who also caught the eye thanks to a fetching new hair colour – saw him claim figures of three wickets for just 19 runs. That, coupled with James Vince’s “right place, right time” fielding to claim two catches in the deep, restricted Somerset to 145-7 after 20 overs. Michael Lumb then made a glorious return to the club, scoring a well balanced 53. His first-wicket partnership of 90 with Jimmy Adams (39) set the platform for the Royals to reach their target even more comfortably than their nine remaining balls would suggest.

The result firmly wipes out the Royals’ two point deficit with which they entered the competition (due to a poor pitch in the corresponding fixture last season). They will now hope to get off the mark proper with a second home T20 match against the Surrey Lions on Friday.

Somerset won the toss and elected to bat but were quickly on the back foot in the power-play as Mascarenhas took his three wickets in double-quick time. Marcus Trescothick (2) was his first victim in the second over of the game, flashing hard to the off-side for the ball to take an edge to Neil McKenzie who took a blinding catch in the slips.

And the all-rounder struck again in his very next over from the Pavilion End, removing Roelof van der Merwe (15). The South African had been drafted in at the last-minute as cover for Kieran Pollard in the first eight FLt20 games of the summer. However, he didn’t have long to enjoy his debut as he had his off stump pushed back as a seaming ball nipped away, taking a bit of pad to the delight of the crowd.

In his third over Mascarenhas had that trademark smile beaming again as he had James Hildreth (2) hanging his bat out to dry with Nic Pothas collecting up the careless snick. Somerset were in trouble at 37-3 after just 5 overs and needed to build an innings to post a suitable score.

So Peter Trego took it on himself to steady the Somerset ship, putting on a strong 50 runs from 30 balls (including four 4s and three 6s). But it wasn’t long after Somerset reached the magical three figures that Trego (55) was dismissed off a diving catch from James Vince. The youngster was like a magnet to balls played into the deep all game; this time athletically swooping at long on to give captain Dominic Cork his first scalp.

Nick Compton - the last of Somerset’s danger men - put up a similarly defiant stand of 37 before he was dismissed in similar fashion; bowled Cork, caught Vince - this time diving away to his right in the deep. Somerset then went on to lose three wickets in 11 runs to finish at 145-7 after 20 overs, Chris Wood and Imran Tahir getting the last couple.
And Hampshire wasted no time in attacking the visitors with a flurry of boundaries in the opening exchanges; Lumb and Adams the tormentors-in-chief. Lumb, particularly, was in blistering form, proving any who had been too quick to doubt him just how wrong they were by smashing six 4s and three 6s in his 33-ball stay at the crease.

Alas, he was undone only by an unbelievable catch from Arul Suppiah. Lumb had looked to bludgeon Trego over the ropes once again – and would certainly have succeeded had Suppiah not jumped out of his skin to catch way above his head on the ropes.

At 90-1 after 10 overs Hampshire seemed to be well in control and James’ Adams and Vince kept the scoreboard ticking at around 8 runs an over. And though neither would be able to see it through to the end, a patient and intelligent innings from both – along with a solid unbeaten knock from Neil McKenzie (17) – was exactly what was needed and what was carried out.

With just one run required Vince was bowled on 31, leaving Benny Howell to watch a wide down leg to bring up the final run needed. Man of the Match went to Mascarenhas, but all played their part.

This article was done of behalf of the Hampshire CCC and also features on the club website click here for the official link with images from the game.