Cooke rampage takes Glamorgan home
Glamorgan 180 for 5 (Cooke 65*, Rudolph 50) beat Sussex 178 for 7 (Prior 39, Joyce 39)
Those that have watched cricket at Glamorgan over the years have got used to seeing slow, low pitches that produce games where a decent score is rarely over 150. Chris Cooke was grateful for a pitch with far greater carry and bounce as his blasted Glamorgan to a final-ball victory over Sussex.
Cooke, on his 28th Birthday, combined first with Jacques Rudolph who scored his second fifty in two innings, and then with Ben Wright, to get Glamorgan in front of the rate. Cooke has been talked of as a long hitter for quite a few years but has never really lived up to his potential. This innings was an example of what he is capable of. He finished on 65 not out off 30 balls, and it should have delivered an easy win with just four needed off the final over.
The scores were level with three balls to go with just-arrived Darren Sammy on strike. Yasir Arafat bowled two perfect yorkers that Sammy could not score off. If there was one man that you would like batting for you in that situation it is Sammy. Pressure doesn't seem to affect him. But it might have done here. Off the last ball he skied a shot into the off side but it evaded the fielder. Just.
The last ball finish was a lot closer result that it should have been, but it gave the crowd some real excitement. Hopefully they will be back. Wickets similar to this will certainly help. But despite the easy paced nature of the surface there were still times that timing the ball seemed hard work, especially off the medium pacers and spinners.
Sussex looked like taking the game away from Glamorgan at several points throughout their innings, only for them to be pegged back by a wicket through some canny bowling or an ill-judged shot. Ed Joyce looked to be all set to play the linchpin role in the innings only to fall attempting a sweep shot off the medium pace of Jim Allenby. In the same over Rory Hamilton-Brown was dropped by Murray Goodwin. The next ball Matt Prior was well caught by the same fielder for 39 off 30 balls. The brakes were applied in a similar fashion through the whole innings.
Prior was far and away the most fluent of the Sussex batsmen, with some well played shots off the back foot and drives down the ground. Perhaps of more interest for the England selectors was the fact that Prior kept wicket. He looked sprightly in the field, running 30 yards at full pelt in attempt to take a catch. He didn't hold on to the chance, but he got there. There were some excellent moments but some that Prior would wish to forget. The brilliant catch off a bottom-edged reverse sweep to remove Allenby was fantastic. The missed stumping off Cooke when he was on 13 was not one for the highlights reel. It was probably the moment that lost Sussex this match.
Some lower order cameos got Sussex up to 178 for 7 off their 20 overs. It was fewer than they could have made, but more than enough for this to represent a stiff chase for the home team. A measured approach early on brought 39 for 0 in the Powerplay, but a flurry of wickets saw Glamorgan lose the experience of Allenby, Wallace and Goodwin in quick succession. That brought Chris Cooke to the crease and the chase was enlightened.