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Ryan Bailey in Bristol
June 8, 2014
Gloucestershire 207 for 3 (Klinger 70, Cockbain 59) v Glamorgan
In all its glory, on what began as a balmy June afternoon, Bristol is one of the most quaint grounds on the circuit. You could not help but wonder, though, if Darren Sammy's mind was set on the more cacophonous surroundings of Kingston.
Sammy's name was sung at regular intervals but he flagged in the face of a Gloucestershire onslaught, while some five thousand miles away, his compatriots began their series against New Zealand. Four overs, none for 53 tells its own story but three no-balls - two of which were deposited to the fence - was an indication of an underlying issue.
Later he exhibited an ice pack on his right shoulder as the visitors emerged from a lengthy post mortem. "It wasn't acceptable," Jim Allenby admitted. "It was our worst performance of the season bar none." And if truth be told, Sammy and Glamorgan were only spared by an abrupt thunderstorm that left Nevil Road saturated.
Usually such a reliable performer, Sammy looked a shadow of himself, as did Glamorgan. Though, if the visitors endured an off-day, Gloucestershire were clinically brilliant. Michael Klinger tucked into the visitors' profligacy as he continued a rich vein of form that last week saw him plunder an unbeaten century in the Championship victory over Leicestershire. Here, he played with equal disdain and with similar reward.
Klinger's methods further underlined the benefits of accomplished strokeplay even in the shortest format. Strong all around the wicket, he is a natural timer of the ball and exhibited all his proficiency with a fluent half-century. Particularly powerful behind square, he cut and carved anything on offer before going through the gears seamlessly; at one point he slapped Michael Hogan down the ground for a maximum although exerting very little effort.
He was given able support in the process. Ian Cockbain played understudy for a couple of overs either side of the first rain interval but when Klinger fell - picking Sammy out in the deep - Cockbain took centre stage.
That said, the Glamorgan bowlers were in generous mood and their fielders quickly followed suit. Jacques Rudolph dropped a straightforward chance at cover to give Geraint Jones a second life, and he duly accepted the invitation to combine with Cockbain to great effect.
Jones, who is on-loan from Kent, highlighted his worth with this innings alone. He only has a week remaining in Bristol but Klinger insisted "the club are doing everything they can to retain his services" for the long-run. He played with no inhibitions as he clubbed a quickfire 37 to ensure Gloucestershire's innings did not falter after a second rain break allowed the visitors to catch their breath and regroup.
Instead, Glamorgan's carelessness allowed the hosts to put their foot firmly on the pedal. Sammy's attempts to find some control, by switching ends, proved toothless as he was bludgeoned for eighteen off his third over - Cockbain tested the durability of one of Bristol's new apartments' windows - before leaking just as many in his final over to lift their side to their fourth highest Twenty20 total. How they would love to bottle it up and save it for another day, Glamorgan not so much.
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