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Ryan Bailey at The Oval
June 27, 2014
Surrey 137 for 2 (Roy 63) beat Hampshire 131 for 9 (Mahmood 3-38) by eight wickets
Amid the conveyor belt of marquee overseas names it would be easy to hold a blinkered view of Surrey. Their riches dwarf what others can even fantasise of which can fuel envy and even bitterness. Yet, when the ECB's top table drew up the plans for this recast NatWest T20 Blast, it was evenings like this they had at the forefront of the agenda.
If this had been a bout - and it would have been a heavyweight one at that - the referee would have intervened well before Jason Roy clubbed 63 off 25 balls which supported the argument there is a lot more to Surrey than their big-buck dealings.
It was an innings of disdain brimming with flamboyance as he bludgeoned twelve boundaries to dispel the belief that this was another sub-standard pitch. There was no masking Hampshire's pitiful performance but as bad as the visitors were, Surrey were masterly.
"It was a fantastic wicket," Roy said. "To keep them to 130 was a brilliant effort from our bowlers and the spinners won us the game."
It is, admittedly, what hefty investment can bring but you manufacture your own success. While many grounds around the circuit are finding it a tougher task to sell the idea of the shortest-format, Surrey are revelling in it. A near capacity Oval crowd, on a glorious evening in South London, testified to that. Build it and they will come and Surrey, in recruiting a certain calibre of player, are certainly doing that.
And while T20 is as much about introducing the sport to a new audience, prosperity on the pitch does not half help. An eight-wicket battering of a team of Hampshire's T20 pedigree underlines Surrey's capacity in this competition and should ensure many of the revellers will return for another evening's entertainment.
Roy did not shy away as he made the pre-game pyrotechnics seem flimsy with some fireworks of his own. After a couple of disjointed seasons with the bat, he is beginning to mature as a player and is enjoying the dividends. An unbeaten 81 against Sussex a fortnight ago hinted at a player finally beginning to fulfil his potential this innings was equally destructive and included 24 off Will Smith's one over.
Such was his belligerence, those in the stands barely noticed the presence of Tillakaratne Dilshan and then Kevin Pietersen at the other end. On debut, the former contributed 15 to an opening stand of 78 but that was hardly a reflection of his endeavours. His contribution with the ball upfront, however, set the tone for what was to follow.
For all the weapons in their armoury, the visitors were horribly outplayed. They lost their three big guns - Michael Carberry, James Vince and Jimmy Adams - during the Powerplay and never recovered. As much as their downfall was created by Surrey's incessant brilliance in the field and nagging line and length offered by the battery of spinners, Hampshire's inability to respond to a situation that needed a steady rebuilding operation was striking.
As Surrey's big names stood-up, Glenn Maxwell became part of his sides' disintegration. Surrey stifled him with spin from both ends and he fell for the bait when Gareth Batty tossed a couple above his eye-line and eventually he holed out to long-on.
"It was just one of those nights unfortunately. We never got out of the blocks and when you lose wickets consistently, you don't give yourselves any chance against a side like Surrey," Giles White, Hampshire director of cricket, said.
Indeed, the procession once Sean Ervine's departure made it 49 for 5 was inevitable. Mindless running led to Matt Coles' dismissal and Smith, who along with Chris Wood offered some resistance, was stumped off a wide; it typified Hampshire's evening.
That they got to a semblance of respectability was down to a career-best 27 from Wood and a couple of blows from Kyle Abbott. It was far little too late, however, as the damage had already been done and Roy ensured there was no way of repairing it.
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