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September 4, 2011
Surrey 228 for 7 (Maynard 60, Liddle 4-38) beat Sussex 157 (Schofield 4-22) by 71 runs
Surrey secured a place in their first Lord's final since 2001 as a power-packed batting line-up proved too much for Sussex in a rain-reduced CB40 semi-final at The Oval. The home side's 228 for 7 in 24 overs, including Tom Maynard's 33-ball 60, followed the attacking brand of cricket they have played throughout the tournament and Sussex were always struggling in reply.
Rain had started shortly before noon and didn't stop until after 3pm and during that time it was unclear exactly what sort of match there would be. The semi-finals have a reserve day available, but a reduced game on the original day is permitted if both captains agree. Given the decent crowd that hard turned up it was the sensible solution to have a shortened game; a knockout match that spills over rarely creates much atmosphere.
In the end, Surrey's total wouldn't have been out of place over the full 40 overs. They are not a side to hold back with the bat - of the eleven playing here, only Zander de Bruyn and Gareth Batty have strike-rates below 100 for the competition - and a reduced innings gave them more license, especially as 10 of the 24 overs were Powerplays, a greater percentage than in a Twenty20 innings.
Sussex, meanwhile, paid the price for losing steam at the wrong ttime. They came into this semi-final on the back of three consecutive defeats in the group stage which meant they progressed with a whimper rather than a bang. It also cost them a home draw with all the advantages that playing at Hove would have brought. They looked a side whose confidence had taken a hit.
Surrey, though, despite losing their final group game to Durham, played with real vigour. The top three set a rapid benchmark as runs came at nearly 10-an-over. Ajmad Khan, an odd selection by Sussex given his limited one-day outings this season, provided extra pace for the batsmen to work with but the visitors didn't help themselves in the field. Rory Hamilton-Brown was dropped on 5 when Ben Brown couldn't gather a top edge running towards third man and was angry at Monty Panesar for distracting him.
Steven Davies was also given a life, on 6, when Chris Nash couldn't hold onto a tough chance at deep midwicket and although both openers didn't build on their starts there was no let up from Surrey. Maynard played the key hand in the middle of the innings after Jason Roy, who had more difficultly against spin than pace, missed his expansive sweep against Panesar.
Maynard showed his power as he peppered the leg-side boundary from long-on to midwicket with four sixes - the last of which took him to his half-century from 28 balls. Maynard has impressed since his move from Glamorgan last winter and if he can maintain his development next season could well press for higher honours.
It was a run chase where everything had to go Sussex's way, but they were soon two down and it was a pair of key batsmen. Matt Prior carved Matthew Spriegel's offspin to cover, a dismissal similar to some in his troubled ODI career, and giving Spriegel the new ball brought further rewards when Murray Goodwin got a leading edge which the bowler intercepted with a well-timed leap.
Hamilton-Brown summed up conditions well by using just four overs of seam in the innings and taking pace off the ball. Ed Joyce kept Sussex's hopes briefly alive but Gareth Batty gained an lbw decision to settle Surrey. They kept their standards high until the end with Davies pulling off a swift stumping and Roy taking an excellent running catch at long on to remove Nash as Chris Schofield wrapped up the innings. A clash with Somerset in the final is an enticing prospect.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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