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Tim Wigmore at The Oval
July 11, 2014
Glamorgan 192 for 4 (Rudolph 75, Cooke 43) beat Surrey 188 for 4 (Roy 60, Hogan 2-28) by four runs
It takes a special kind of cricketer to win the acclaim of Justin Langer. Michael Hogan has done that and more: so convinced is Langer of Hogan's worth to his Western Australia side that he has left a vacant space in their state squad in the hope of persuading Hogan to return to the WACA for another year.
No one at The Oval would have been sceptical of Langer's judgement. Against Kent earlier in the season, Hogan secured a tie with a remarkable final over that yielded only three runs. After that, conceding 12 or fewer to hand Glamorgan victory at The Oval, must have seemed a facile task.
Besides a third ball full toss, swatted away for four by Vikram Solanki, Hogan produced another exemplary over. When Solanki needed a four to tie off the final delivery to tie the game, Hogan produced an impeccable yorker outside off stump.
Glamorgan fans would have expected nothing else. Into his second season at the club, Hogan has already proved his supreme worth. He has taken 107 first-class wickets at under 20 apiece; he also averages in the teens in T20 and one-day cricket. The immediate upshot of his skill is that Glamorgan have now overtaken Surrey into third in the South Division.
While Jason Roy was doing his thing, that seemed implausible. Descriptions of Roy's batting - fusing raw power, supreme timing and a staggering breadth of shots - are swiftly losing originality. This was his seventh half-century in 10 NatWest Blast games this season, and made him the competition's leading runscorer.
And he lost nothing in comparison with Kevin Pietersen. During their 31 balls together at the crease, England's swashbuckling past and swashbuckling future combined delightfully. To many - not just those who were enjoying an especially merry Friday night - they must have seemed indistinguishable at the crease as they each hit a towering six over long-on in three deliveries from Andrew Salter.
Pietersen immediately fell attempting a repeat, but that seemed not to matter. Because Roy remained. One sweep off Salter, perfectly bisecting two men stationed for the shot, showed particularly remarkable placement.
Glamorgan's jigs of celebration after Will Owen had taken Roy at fine leg - off Hogan, naturally - were more exuberant than their reaction to snaring Pietersen. And, though Azhar Mahmood smote the ball to leg - just as he has spent much of his 13 years in county cricket doing - Surrey's familiar formula of chasing failed them.
The highest first innings score in the last ten T20s at the ground had been Kent's 155 for 4 last week. So Glamorgan would have been buoyant at surpassing that with the ease of a sixth-former clearing hurdles meant for Year Six.
Jacques Rudolph's unbeaten 75 underpinned their rush to 192. But, superbly as he played, it was the middle-order cameos that proved more intoxicating for the crowd - though whether they needed more intoxicating is a moot point.
Mark Wallace hit consecutive switch hits - a reverse pull and a staggering reverse slog-sweep for six - off Robin Petersen. And the strong-armed Chris Cooke bludgeoned Robin Petersen for consecutive sixes over long on en route to 43. And suddenly, for the first time this season, Surrey's bowling stocks appeared light. It was not only that Petersen's two overs went for 26.
Tom Curran was restricted to two overs by an ankle injury. With Kevin O'Brien having now gone to the Caribbean Premier League, Gary Wilson even gave an over to Jason Roy's medium pace. Stewart Walters' smears ensured that it went for 16. One can only imagine the disdain with which Roy the batsman would treat Roy the bowler.
Still, for all the pyrotechnics, the loudest noise of the night was the boisterous chants of "Let him go! Let him go" at the spectre of a fan being escorted out of the ground by police. At The Oval, such sights are even more familiar than Roy's belligerence.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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