Lancashire v Glamorgan, NatWest Blast Q-F, Old Trafford August 1, 2014

Bowl-out threat looms in Old Trafford quarter-final

Lancashire v Glamorgan - No play; match to take place Saturday

What did Steven Cheetham do on July 29, 2009 which Mark Chilton, Stephen Parry and VVS Laxman could not quite manage?

It is a question which might provoke a few bizarre responses yet the correct answer remains a source of pain for Old Trafford zealots. The prosaic truth is that Cheetham was the only man to hit the stumps five years ago when Lancashire's T20 quarter-final against Somerset had to be settled by a bowl-out in the indoor school. Somerset won 5-1.

Memories of the gang that couldn't shoot straight were revived on Friday evening as Manchester's two-week heatwave ended with a vengeance and the Old Trafford outfield was covered with large puddles which removed any prospect of play in the first NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final.

The plan now is to try again on Saturday with a scheduled start time of 2pm although as large a window as possible has been set aside and a five-over game could even begin under floodlights as late as 8.57. However, there seems only the remotest possibility of playing the game at Old Trafford on Sunday even if the grim weather forecast for the reserve day proves to be accurate.

"We're doing everything we can to get the game played on Saturday," said Lancashire's director of cricket Mike Watkinson. "We have as big a chance as possible of getting the game through then. We have a Test starting on Thursday and the quality of the playing surface is crucial for us. We think we have a good pitch out there and we are mindful of wanting to protect it. It would be fantastic if we can avoid playing on Sunday and we've tried to shut it off as an option."

"Strictly speaking you shouldn't use the ground nine days before a Test Match, so we're already into that period," said Watkinson. "There was also the great left field idea that we could move grounds but I don't think there'd be anywhere in the county with a surface good enough that had avoided the weather. So what do you do? Ring Trent Bridge and say: can we play a double header?"

It also seems that umpires Jeff Evans and Peter Hartley may be prepared to try and fit a game into any window strongly suggested by the weather radar rather than start a 20-over game only for it to be curtailed by the weather and be left with as a bowl-out as their only option.

If a bowl out is held, any registered player from either county can participate in it. This raises the possibility that Lancashire's four-day captain Glen Chapple could send down two of the ten deliveries. There is even the highly remote chance that Andrew Flintoff, who is currently recovering from a calf strain, would be called up to bowl off a couple of paces.

The possibility of a bowl-out may not depress Glamorgan's players too much. Their only experience of cricket's version of a penalty shoot-out goes back to the Tilcon Trophy at Harrogate in 1987, when Worcestershire were beaten in one ten-ball showdown but Gloucestershire emerged victorious in a second, one of the successful bowlers being the unlikely figure of one RC "Jack" Russell.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • david on August 2, 2014, 20:11 GMT

    thought this heading was about young Clark. anyway well done young man, you got lanky into the semi's

  • Zia on August 2, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    @Tom Bryan,@yorkshie-86,@CodanadChips......Bowl out neither tests bowling skill nor its a way to test nerves...its simply about hitting the stumps which ur best fielders could probably do better than frontline bowlers...i know u cant bend ur arm while bowling as u do in fielding but thats my theory...I remember 2007 t20 worldcup where Gul,Afridi failed to hit while Uthappa,Sehwag hit the stumps in a bowl out...I am strongly against use of bowl out rule in cricket though...Flexible thinking required rather as rightly pointed by @Glyn Jones

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2014, 10:12 GMT

    If no play on Saturday at OT then why not play at a different ground on Sunday? Liverpool, Southport or any club ground? Surely this is better than a bowl out? Flexible thinking required!

  • Tom on August 2, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    Is it true or an urban myth that in one of the first bowl outs a well-known fast bowler (Devon Malcolm comes to mind for some reason) bowled a bouncer?

  • Paulo on August 2, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    @yorkshire-86 I'd say it's more a test of nerve than skill. Most people can bowl at a stumps with no batsman. Trust me, bowling requires a lot more skill with a batsman.

    @Tom Bryan perhaps Lancs thought Laxman had better nerve control than some of their front-line bowlers?

  • Dummy4 on August 2, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    Can anybody offer an explanation to why Lancs didn't bowl there front line bowlers in the bowl out V Som in 2009? Laxman had barely bowled in his long career and I remember being baffled by their decision to send him up.

    Any one got any ideas as to why Lancs did this? Will they do it again?

  • Jeff on August 2, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    Why the agro against the bowl out? A bowl out is the ultimate test of nerve and skill.

  • Paulo on August 2, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    Why not consider starting earlier on the reserve day? Why have a minimum number of overs on the reserve day? Surely a 3 over a side game would be better than a bowl out?

    Perhaps if the game can't be settled, award it to the team who had more points in the group stage. Bowl outs are too much of a lottery imo.

  • Michael on August 1, 2014, 20:24 GMT

    A bowl out should never be used, there is simply no reason for it. A T20 takes 3 hours! There will be three free hours of good weather before Finals Day!

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