Friday, 12 October 2012

Surrey sign Gary Keedy

Surrey have today announced the signing of Lancashire left arm spinner Gary Keedy on a two year contract.

With Murali Kartik leaving at the end of the season, and an overseas batsman likely to be lined up for next season, a second spinner was high on the agenda for Chris Adams over the Winter period. In Gary Keedy, you have, at the age of 37, vast amounts of experience in County cricket, something that Adams wants to install in the dressing room. You also have high skill and ability, with him claiming over 650 First Class wickets at a tad over 31 apiece, with many describing him as the greatest spinner to have never played for England.

Keedy is Lancashire through and through, and many will struggle to find a reason to why he chose to leave them and come to the KIA Oval. One main reason would have been that he feels he still has plenty to offer in all forms of the game, and Lancashire were only playing him in List A cricket towards the end of the season. He played just the 4 Championship matches in 2012, claiming 7 wickets at an average of well over 50. Another reason is that the Oval pitch will suit his style of bowling, and along with Gareth Batty, we have two of the best English spinners of the last 10 years.

The signing of Keedy continues the trend set by Adams over the last couple of years, of signing highly experienced players in their mid to late 30’s. Vikram Solanki has of course already signed for the club from Worcestershire, and Jon Lewis signed in the summer of 2011, with all 3 boosting the average age at the club considerably. To be honest, I think that it is vital to have experienced campaigners such as Keedy and Solanki in your side. Yes, their best years our behind them, but they must feel that they can still perform at a high level. Look how old Ramps got until he started to fade away!

I understand the opinion of those who think that Keedy is too old, and that we should be looking towards the future, but having old heads in the dressing room is key to a successful team. Yes, I would rather they were perhaps 5 or 6 years younger, so that we would benefit longer from them, but for the immediate future they will play a big part in our team. The core of our club has been ripped out in the last 6 months, and it will need a lot of repairing to do.

We have the basis of a successful team in the future. At the end of the season we had Burns, Ansari and Harinath at the top of the order in the Championship, and the likes of Jewell and Edwards will without doubt be great Surrey players for the future. However, we need to concentrate on the here and now, and the signing of Keedy, along with Solanki and Lewis, will help the younger players and benefit our club for years to come.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: The Final

West Indies beat hosts to win World T20

7/10/12-West Indies 137-6 20 overs (Samuels 78, A. Mendis 4-12) beat Sri Lanka 101 all out 18.4 overs (Narine 3-9) by 36 runs @ Colombo

West Indies have beaten the hosts Sri Lanka by 36 runs, to win the 2012 ICC World Twenty 20 in Colombo.

Darren Sammy won the toss for the West Indies, and despite the threat of rain later in the game, he elected to bat first. There were no changes to the Windies line up, but Sri Lanka brought in Akila Dananjaya in place of former Surrey spinner Rangana Herath. Sammy would have immediately regretted that decision, as Johnson Charles was out in the first over of the match, skying the ball to Kulesakera off Mathews without scoring.

West Indies struggled to get going, as it took until the 3rd over for the first run off the bat, and the 4thbefore a boundary. And when Ajantha Mendis was brought on in the 6thover, the mystery spinner trapped the danger man Chris Gayle LBW for a painstaking 3 off 16 balls, as the West Indies scored just 14 off the powerplay. It got no better for the West Indies, as they could only reach 32 off of 10 overs, with just that one earlier boundary, as the spin of A. Mendis and Dananjaya were proving extremely difficult to play.

Birthday boy Dwayne Bravo finally hit another boundary in the 12th over, launching Dananjaya for the first six of the final. Marlon Samuels then launched Malinga for three sixes in an over as the West Indies finally built some momentum, reaching 69-2 off 13 overs. However, Mendis then had Bravo LBW for 19, becoming the leading wicket taker in the tournamentin the process.

Samuels was still at the crease, and brought up his half century off 46 balls with his 4th six, but he lost his partner when Dananjaya caught Pollard at the second attempt to give Mendis his 3rdwicket. He then removed Andre Russell very next ball, as he finished with superb figures of 4-12. Samuels carried on however, launching Malinga for 2 more sixes, including the biggest of the tournament spanning a massive 108 metres. But on 78, Samuels was caught on the rope looking for another six, just when it looked like West Indies would post a half decent score. But thanks to a quickfire 26 from captain Sammy, the West Indies posted a competitive 137-6. A score that looked a million miles off earlier on.

The West Indies knew that early wickets would be key, and Ravi Rampaul delivered as he bowled Dilshan without scoring with an absolute beauty. They could have got off to an even better start, but Bravo dropped Jayawardene in the deep off of the spin of Marlon Samuels.  Sangakarra joined his skipper at the crease,and even though they were not batting electrically, they were making sure they didn’t lose any further wickets.

However, the spin of Sunil Narine immediately troubled the experienced pair, and even though he didn’t get the wicket himself, the pressure he applied drew Sangakarra into a false shot, where he was caught inthe deep of Samuel Badree. Sri Lanka 48-2 in the 10th, and the game was well and truly on. Sammy then brought himself on and duly bowled Mathews, as the required rate rose to almost 9 and a half an over.

West Indies were taking control of the game, and could have had it all but won, but Jayawardene was once again dropped in the deep, this time by Russell, as the hosts still held hopes of victory. But in the very next over, the West Indies finally held onto Jayawardene as he attempted a reverse sweep, and the game was all but up. Narine then combined with Bravo to run out Jeevan Mendis, as Sri Lanka stumbled to 61-5 in the 13th over.Perera was then brilliantly run out by Dinesh Ramdin, and Thirimane caught in the deep, as West Indians all over the world would have started their celebrations. After Kulesakera gave them a little scare with an innings of 26, West Indies won by 36 runs after bowling Sri Lanka out for 101.

A fantastic win for the West Indies, and after being 14-2 off the powerplay, it must go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Twenty20 history. They looked down and out, but Marlon Samuels was simply superb with the bat, almost single handily winning the tournament for his side. Sri Lanka would have been the first side to win the ICC World T20 on home territory, and after 15 overs of the Windies innings, most people would have backed them. But it wasn’t to be, as star players such as Malinga and Sangakarra failed to make an impact, as West Indies took advantage fantastically.

Man of the Match: Marlon Samuels for his outstanding innings of 78. The only batsman on show who adapted to the pitch and pressure of a final well, and God knows how many West Indies would have got if he wasn’t playing. Absolutely superb.

Friday, 5 October 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: Semi Final 2

Gayle blasts Windies into final

5/10/12- West Indies 205-4 20 overs (Gayle 75*) beat Australia 131 all out 16.4 overs (Bailey 63) by 74 runs

West Indies have beaten Australia by 74 runs to qualify for the ICC World Twenty 20 Final.

Darren Sammy won the toss for West Indies and elected to bat first. The Windies brought Dwayne Bravo back into the side in place of his brother, and David Hussey replaced Glenn Maxwell for Australia. And it was Australia who made a good start, when Mitchell Starc drew Johnson Charles into a drive and the opener was caught behind for 10. One of the in-from batsman of 2012 was in at 3, and Marlon Samuels got off to a good start, including a delicious cover drive off Pat Cummins.

However, Cummins had his revenge, when Samuels, on 26, was bowled by a good slower ball from the young pace bowler. Chris Gayle was still at the crease though, and even though he wasn’t facing much of the strike, he gradually found his range, launching thevleft arm spin of Xavier Doherty for 3 sixes overall.

But Gayle really came to lifevin the 15th over, when 19 was taken off D. Hussey’s first, as hebwent to his half century off just 29 balls, with one of his maximums going pastb100 metres. Australia did manage to remove Bravo for 37, after he put on 83 with Gayle for the 3rd wicket. However, that just brought the dangerous Kieron Pollard to the crease, and with Gayle, the pair put on 65 in the final 4 overs of the innings as the West Indies posted 205-4. Gayle ended unbeaten on 75, and Pollard made 38 off 15 deliveries, including 3 sixes in the final over, before being caught off the final ball.

This is the second time these two teams have faced each other in the tournament, and in that match West Indies scored 191 and still lost the game (via D/L), so Australia still held hopes of reaching the final. But they got off to a dreadful start against the spin of Samuel Badree and Samuels, with Warner going in the first over, before he was quickly followed by Mr Cricket and the player of the tournament so far Shane Watson.

Australia reached 42-3 off the powerplay, but then immediately lost their 4th wicket, when, off the first ball of seam, Rampaul had Cameron White caught down the leg side. Australia were faltering to say the least and it didn't get better, as the leading run scorer in T20 history, Dave Hussey, lasted just two balls. The Aussie middle order was proving what many feared.

Australia then lost Matthew Wade and defeat looked a certainty, but captain George Bailey didn't give up easily,as e smashed his way to a 23 ball half century. But when Bailey fell for 23, the game was up, and Australia were eventually bowled out for 131.

A great win for the West Indies, and as they have shown, they can beat anyone on their day. Australia on the other hand looked superb in the first 4 games of the tournament but struggled badly against Pakistan and T20 is a momentum game, so it looks like they've lost plenty of that.

Man of the Match: Chris Gayle for his 75*. Superb innings from the big man, and it is just brilliant to see him back in a West Indies shirt.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: Semi Final 1

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to reach final

4/10/12- Sri Lanka 139-4 20 overs (Jayawardene 42) beat Pakistan 123-7 20 overs (Hafeez 42, Herath 3-25) by 16 runs @ Colombo

Sri Lanka have qualified for the final of the ICC World Twenty 20, after beating Pakistan by 16 runs in Colombo.

Kumar Sangakarra won the toss for Sri Lanka and he elected to bat first.  They got off to a solid start, but found run scoring difficult, on a pitch that the New Zealand women struggled on a couple of hours earlier. They didn’t lose a wicket until the 11thover, when Shahid Afridi had Mahela Jayawardene caught for 42. The skipper looked to up the run rate, but he was the next to fall for 18, as the Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez had him caught.

Dilshan was still at the crease, but was far from his fluent self, as he was scoring well under a run a ball and it was looking increasingly unlikely that Sri Lanka would post a score of 150+. Dilshan finally fell for a 43 ball 35 in the 18th over, but 21 runs off the final two overs, thanks to Matthews and Perera, the hosts scored 139-4 off their 20 overs.

Pakistan would have been highly confident of chasing the below par, but competitive, score set by their opponents, and they also got off to a solid, but quiet start. However, Sri Lanka managed to do what Pakistan couldn’t, and picked up an early wicket when Ajantha Mendis bowled Imran Nazir in the leg spinner’s first over.

Sri Lanka could have then had Hafeez caught, but former Surrey spinner Rangana Herath put down a tough chance at long off. However, Sri Lanka fought back and picked up 3 wickets inside 2 overs. Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal were both removed by Angelo Matthews, and Shoaib Malik was bowled by Herath, as Pakistan fell to 64-4 in the 11th over. They could have had 4 quick wickets, but Lasith Malinga inexplicably dropped Hafeez when the Pakistan captain was on 24.

Hafeez was determined to punish Pakistan after the two chances he had been given, as he hit Herath over long off for the first six of the innings. But Herath had his revenge when in his next over, he had Hafeez stumped for 42, as the game was finely balanced. Shahid Afridi was then bowled first ball, his second golden duck of the tournament, as Sri Lanka started to turn the screw.

Pakistan then lost Sohail Tanvir, as victory was looking increasingly likely for Sri Lanka. They needed 27 off the final 2 overs, and the game was all but up when Malinga conceded just 4 off the penultimate over. And Pakistan could only get 11, as Sri Lanka won by 16 runs.

So a 4th consecutive Semi Final appearance for Pakistan, but they have failed to reach the final this year after promising so much. Sri Lanka on the other hand look a fantastic all round team, and few will bet against them on Sunday, especially in front of their own fans.

Tomorrow there is the second Semi Final, with Australia taking on the West Indies.

Man of the Match: Mahela Jayawadene for his 42. Was one of only a couple of batsman who actually adapted to the pitch well.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: Day 14 Round Up

Australia through despite Pakistan loss

2/10/12- Pakistan 149-6 20 overs (Jamshed 55, Starc 3-20) beat Australia 117-7 20 overs (Hussey 54*, Ajmal 3-17) by 32 runs @ Colombo

Australia are through to the Semi Final stage of the ICC World Twenty 20, despite losing by 32 runs to Pakistan in Colombo.

George Bailey won the toss and stuck Pakistan into bat first. The Aussies started well as they removed the oppositions skipper and Imran Nazir in the powerplay, as runs were hard to come by. Nasir Jamshed ,however, once again reinforced his reputation in this form of the game, as he led the Pakistan recovery with Kamran Akmal, scoring a 36 ball half century. A quickfire 22 from former Surrey all rounder Abdul Razzaq took Pakistan to 149-6, which was below what they should have got thanks to 3 wickets from Mitchell Starc.

Australia knew that if they reached 112 in their reply, they would be through to the Semi Final. However, they lost the man of the moment Shane Watson early, along with David Warner, as the middle order was being tested for the first time in the tournament. They struggled badly against the Pakistan spin, with 18 of the 20 overs being bowled by the spinners, and even though they went past the 112 needed for qualification, thanks to an unbeaten 50 from Mike Hussey, Australia lost by 32 runs.
Australia will be annoyed that they have lost, as momentum in Twenty 20 is so important, but I personally believe that today was just a blip and they will come back better in the Semi. But if Warner and Watson don’t fire, it will be interesting to see how the middle order gets on. Pakistan have done what they had to do today, and they will be hoping that South Africa, who are now coincidently out of the competition, beat India, or if India do win, hope that their net run rate is higher than their fierce rivals.

Man of the Match: Raza Hasan for his 2-14. A very good young spinner, and his spell at the beginning of the Aussie innings set the tone for the rest of the game.

India crash out of World T20

2/10/12- India 152-6 20 overs (Raina 45) beat South Africa 151 all out 19.5 overs (du Plessis 65, Zaheer 3-22) by 1 run @ Colombo

India are out of the ICC World T20, even though they beat South Africa in Colombo this evening.

India had to win and hope that their net run rate would be better than Pakistan. Dhoni wanted to bowl first, and know what target he would have to chase, but he lost the toss and was inserted. They lost Gambhir early, and he was quickly joined back in the dugout by Sehwag and Kohli as India struggled. Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh supported Suresh Raina who top scored with 45, as India posted 152-6 off their 20 overs.

India had to restrict South Africa to less than 122 if they were to overtake Pakistan on net run rate. They got off to a great start as they had Amla and Kallis early, but after that it was all downhill for India. with Faf Du Plessis scored a superb 65, as South Africa eased past 122, and were closing in on victory. Both sides were out of the competition by the final over, but you would never have guessed it. 14 were required off the last over, but they could only get 12, as India won by 1 run.

So India will be extremely disappointed that they are out at this stage of the competition, and will feel even worse that their bitter rivals Pakistan have gone through instead of them. South Africa were already out before this match started but they were still as professional as you would expect from any South African team, falling so close to victory in the end.

So the Super 8’s have finished and the Semi Finals are now drawn, with Sri Lanka against Pakistan on Thursday, followed by the West Indies against Australia on Friday. Whatever happens, it will be an exciting end to the tournament.

Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh for his 21 and 2 wickets. Not an outstanding match for Yuvraj, but it is just great to see him back from his cancer scare earlier this year.

Monday, 1 October 2012

ICC World Twenty 20: Day 13 Round Up

Kiwis knocked out  via Super over

1/10/12- West Indies 139 all out 19.2 overs (Southee 3-21) beat New Zealand 139-7 20 overs (Taylor 62*, Narine 3-20) via a Super Over @ Pallakele

New Zealand have been knocked out of the ICC World Twenty 20, after West Indies beat them in a super over.

Ross Taylor won the toss for New Zealand and stuck West Indies in to bat. It looked to be an inspired decision on a usually good Pallakele batting pitch, as Charles and Russell were dismissed early, and Gayle was stopped mid flow for a 14 ball 30. Samuels and Pollard added some impetus to the innings, but 3 wickets apiece for Bracewell and Southee helped bowl West Indies out for 139 in the final over.

New Zealand knew that to have a chance of qualifying for the Semi Finals, they would have to reach the 140 target in 19.4 overs or fewer. However, they lost 3 early wickets including Brendon McCullum, to put them on the back foot. The skipper and James Franklin led the recovery for the Kiwis, and even though Franklin and Oram were dismissed in quick fashion, Taylor was at his fluent best. His half century came up off just 33 balls, and he was taking his side to victory. But a tight penultimate over from Narine meant New Zealand needed 14 off the final over. They could only get 13, which meant a super over was to come.

Thanks to Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, New Zealand scored 17 off their solitary over, but Tim Southee bowled a dreadful over, as West Indies won with 1 ball remaining.

A dramatic game and yet another Super over loss for New Zealand, who are now out of the competition. The West Indies would have to rely on Sri Lanka beating England to qualify for the Semi Finals.

Man of the Match: Sunil Narine for his 3-20. Enhancing his reputation with every game he plays, and his last over ultimately kept his side in the game.

Malinga sends England home

1/10/12- Sri Lanka 169-6 20 overs (Jaywardene 42, Broad 3-32) beat England 147 all out overs (Patel 67, Malinga 5-31) by 19 runs @ Pallakele

Sri Lanka have beaten England by 19 runs in Pallakele, and therefore knocking the champions out of the tournament.

Stuart Broad won the toss and he chose to field first. Steven Finn managed to get the dangerous Dilshan before he could really get going, but Sri Lanka looked to post a good total. The experienced pair of Jayawardene and Sangakarra did well, before Swann had them both out in consecutive deliveries. Broad also had two in two, but thanks to some late big hitting from Perera, they posted an over par 168-6 off their 20 overs.

England needed a victory to progress, but had the worst possible start, when they lost Wright, Hales and Bairstow in the space of 4 deliveries from Lasith Malinga. Samit Patel, recalled to the side, played without doubt the best innings he has played in an international T20, as he was playing the spin of Mendis quite comfortably. However, the game was all but up when Morgan was out, followed by the woefully out of form Ravi Bopara. Patel did reach his half century off 37 balls and he and Graeme Swann put on a 50 partnership for the 8th wicket, but when Patel went for 67, the game was up, and Sri Lanka won by 19 runs.

A very disappointing performance from England all round. Finn and Broad bowled well, but there will be question marks over whether Broad made the correct call at the toss, and even bigger question marks over the batsman’s inconsistent contributions to the side. Sri Lanka look good for the trophy, and will be joined in the Semi Finals by the West Indies.

Man of the Match: Lasith Malinga for his 5-32. England just couldn’t cope with his variations today, and taking 3 wickets in an over is nearly always going to win your side the game when defending a score.