July 4, 2012

Friends Life t20, Wednesday July 4, 2012

Short memories

Short memories

This may feel like the worst summer ever, especially to the good folk of Glamorgan...but don't we have short memories.

The abandonment of last night's match between the Welsh Dragons and Worcestershire in Cardiff brought the 'no result' tally this soggy season to 12 from 68 matches. That may seem like a lot - and at 16.66% of all the games so far, it certainly is - yet it still comes nowhere near the scale of damage inflicted by the elements only five years ago.

In 2007, the summer of the floods that forced Worcestershire to pull up the anchor and sail off to Kidderminster, 20 fixtures from a full programme of 72 zonal games fell victim to the weather, some 27.77%. Of those, 16 were called off without a ball bowled - compared with nine this year.

Lancashire were the biggest sufferers, with four of their eight matches completely washed out, although they still qualified for the quarter-finals - unlike Glamorgan this season. Their second total swamping in as many days, following on from the match that went west in Bristol on Monday, ended their hopes of reaching the last eight.

This year's weather havoc has not been that much worse than was witnessed last summer, in fact, when 23 from 144 group matches finished with no result, which is just short of 16%.

Interestingly, in the first year of Twenty20 in England, there was not a single match lost to the weather and only four in the second season, which is one reason undoubtedly why it seemed such a good idea at the time.

Lancashire record to no avail

Lancashire's 57 wins from 97 matches since Twenty20 was launched in England apparently makes them the most successful county in the history of the format, although as Gary Keedy pointed out the other day, it is a hollow statistic against the more meaningful consequence of their record since the competition was launched in 2003. Lancashire are unique in having reached finals day four times without winning the trophy. "We've won all those games for nothing, really," Keedy lamented.

After last night's defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, Lancashire's chances of reaching the last four this year are slim. It was their third reverse in a row and leaves them on the brink of elimination with only two matches remaining.

Maybe they can blame the weather this time. Although they have suffered only one abandoned match - compared with four in 2007 - they have been on the wrong end of Duckworth-Lewis in two of their defeats.

Beaten under the D/L criteria at Derby early in the competition, when the home side chased 102 from 11.3 overs to overhaul their 168 from 20, the odds seemed to be weighted against them last night when the calculations left Nottinghamshire needing 49 from five overs to beat 178, with the luxury of knowing that wickets lost did not come into the equation.

Capel pays the price for football thinking

With so much money hanging on success in Twenty20 it is hardly surprising that cricket club committees are beginning to behave like football club boards, as David Capel discovered when the axe fell this week on his six-year stint as coach at Northamptonshire.

Capel had been at Wantage Road in one capacity or another for 33 years. Born in Northampton, he joined the staff as a 16-year-old in 1979, made his first-class debut two years later and played for the county until 1998. He then worked with the club's academy cricketers until taking over from Kepler Wessels as first team coach in 2006. As a loyal servant to his home county, he has had few peers.

Northants missed out on promotion to Division One of the County Championship last season when their form deserted them late in the season and after a run of four wins in 37 limited-overs matches in a 12-month period - and only one win in this year's FLt20 campaign - the Wantage Road committee took a pragmatic view and decided Capel had to pay the price.

"We felt the time was right to freshen things up," their chief executive, David Smith said as he announced the decision, sounding remarkably like a football chairman. "Clearly, we're not where we wanted to be in Twenty20. Ultimately, every coach has his shelf-life in the modern day game."

Sharks with a subtle bite

Congratulations to Sussex on reaching the quarter-finals with last night's victory over Surrey at The Oval, which turned into a bit of a stroll in the end as they chased down a revised target with 20 balls to spare.

Michael Yardy's side boast the hugely impressive record of winning all six matches they have been able to complete. In doing so, they have emphasised how much success in the format is down to team performance rather than outstanding individuals.

They have only one batsman - Luke Wright - among the top 10 run scorers in the competition so far and Chris Liddle is their only representative in the leading 35 wicket-takers, although it should be said that only Yorkshire's Mitchell Starc has more than his 13 wickets.

Player of the day: Stephen Moore

The Lancashire opener is still looking for his first Twenty20 century after 81 innings but he demonstrated again his class in passing 50 for the 13th time - the third time this summer - at Trent Bridge last night with a high-quality 58-ball 80 as he and Tom Smith established a Lancashire record with an opening partnership of 119.

It was a pity for him that it was all in a losing cause in the end. He needs only 11 more runs to complete 2,000 in the short format, a statistic that can only enhance his prospects of landing the England call-up some think should already have come his way.

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