Surrey blitzed in One Day Cup opener
17 April 2019
Any argument that 50 over cricket is formulaic and dominated by high scoring run feasts was downed uncerimoniously at the Bristol County Ground as Gloucestershire started their campaign in the South Group with a convincing 147 run victory over Surrey.
Set 236 to win, last season's Division 1 Champions were dismissed for just 88, using up fewer than half of their allocated overs. Ealier, Gloucestershire's total of 235 centred on a second wicket stand of 152 between skipper Chris Dent (75) and Gareth Roderick (74), before the remaining eight wickets fell for 79 runs.
Watch the post match interview with Chris Dent here:
Gloucestershire made five changes to the side which drew the opening Championship match of the season with Ian Cockbain, Jack Taylor, Tom Smith, Dan Worrall and Chris Liddle all coming into the team. The three bowlers ended up taking eight wickets between them and more than justifying their inclusion after captain Chris Dent - crucially - won the toss and decided to bat.
The pitch used was the same one as in the four day fixture with Derbyshire, and Dent's view clearly was that it would get slower and more difficult to read in the second innings. It was a shrewd call, and batting only really looked comfortable while he and Gareth Roderick were together in the first half of the Gloucestershire innings.
Roderick's introduction was early, after George Hankins reached for, and edged, his first legal delivery in the second over, bowled by Rikki Clarke. With an attack also including Morne Morkel and Tom Curran, Gloucestershire's start was circumspect, although Dent did clip Clarke over deep square leg for six in the sixth over.
From 36-1 at the end of the opening powerplay, the left hander/right hander combination of captain and wicketkeeper started to rotate the strike, despite the best efforts of Curran to squeeze the space on the off side. It was the essence of a partnership, with the runs and strike almost equally shared until an appeal for a stumping by Foakes off Batty was turned down in the 21st over with the score on 97.
Shortly afterwards both men completed their fifties, Dent pulling Morkel to mid wicket to reach his from 62 balls (4x4,1x6), just four fewer than Roderick who punched Batty past mid off to match his captain's effort. The wicket keeper's half century contained seven fours, and at half distance Gloucestershire were 133-1 and potentially looking at a total towards 300.
It was Rikki Clarke who proved the stand breaker, removing Dent for 75 as he skied a catch to Curran at mid on. Three more wickets fell for the addition of only 15 runs, with Curran accounting for Roderick (74) with the aid of a low catch by Pope at mid off. Cockbain and Jack Taylor fell to the spin of Batty and Jacks respectively, and with ten overs remaining much depended on Ryan Higgins and Benny Howell.
The sixth wicket pair had added 43 when Clarke returned to dismiss both in his final spell and finish with 4-37. Tom Curran also picked up two late wickets and when Morne Morkel dismissed Chris Liddle Gloucestershire had been bowled out in the 48th over for 235. Skipper Chris Dent admitted afterwards he thought the total was below par. In the end, however, it was plenty.
Against what looked a strong Surrey line-up, Gloucestershire needed a good start. They got it with Dan Worrall's third delivery, Mark Stoneman being bowled behind his legs after stepping too far across. Will Jacks put bat to ball forcibly until treading on his leg stump to give Worrall his second wicket, and Chris Liddle's introduction - also at the Ashley Down Road end - saw him remove the dangerous Jason Roy for 17 by reacting quickly to snaffle a return catch.
The pace in the pitch - or lack of it - was proving difficult for Surrey to judge, and the procession of wickets showed no sign of stopping once the powerplay was over. Liddle trapped Rory Burns lbw and clung onto a second return catch as Ben Foakes looked to try and stabilise a chase which had started without serious scoreboard pressure.
Surrey still had 35 overs available but from 61-5 there was no way back once Ryan Higgins bowled Clarke off an inside edge. Surrey's last recognised batsman, Ollie Pope, departed to Benny Howell as Roderick snapped up an excellent leg side catch and and then Tom Smith "burgled" - his word - three wickets for seven runs in two overs to wrap up the match.
It may only be two points, but the nature of the result will give Gloucestershire huge confidence and a big boost at the outset to their net run rate ahead of the second South Group match against Middlesex at Lord's on Sunday.