T20 Team of the Week
7/12/2016 0 Comments
The T20 Blast Group Stage is reaching an exciting climax and after a further few days of limited overs action, Charlie Jennings was tasked with the tough challenge of picking his all star XI for the week, here's whose made the cut.
Mark Wallace Glamorgan – A steady innings from the opening batsman guided Glamorgan to an easy nine-wicket win over Middlesex. Wallace notched up seven boundaries and a six to make an unbeaten 69 from 50 balls, the highest score in the South Group on Friday evening. Wallace was supported most notably by David Lloyd, who made 49 with one six, and Colin Ingram who raced the Welsh county to victory with an unbeaten 19, which including 3 consecutive sixes off Olly Rayner in what turned into the last over of the match. It was the first fifty of the season for Wallace, in just his second appearance, a good day for the opener.
Mark Pettini Leicestershire – The experienced opener blasted 71 from 48 balls to punish a below par Derbyshire to confine the Falcons to a heavy nine-wicket loss with over 4 overs remaining. Leicestershire chased down 164, Pettini and opening partner Mark Cosgrove adding 106 of those before Cosgrove departed for a 27-ball 52. However, it was the former Essex man who controlled the innings without ever playing a shot in anger. The innings contained just 11 fours and was the perfect example of how to chase down a score in T20 cricket.
Jos Buttler Lancashire – England wicket-keeper and opening batsman Buttler showed the form that has propelled him to be named alongside the most powerful hitters in today's game to lead Lancashire to an astonishing seven-wicket win over Worcestershire. The ex-Somerset man punished the Rapids with a brutal display of power-hitting, making 57 off of just 22 balls. Incredibly, Buttler departed before the end of the powerplay – having launched his side to 94 runs inside 5.4 overs before his dismissal. Four sixes and seven fours were hit by Buttler who continued the destructive form he had showed for England in the recent ODI series versus Sri Lanka and this was an innings which displayed Buttler at his destructive best – the Red Rose can have a lot to look forward to.
Dan Christian Nottinghamshire – Captain Christian led by example for his Nottinghamshire side, scoring a match-winnings 56 off 32 balls in their six-wicket win over North Group table-toppers Northamptonshire. Having restricted Northants to 122 all out, Christian contributing 2 overs for 20 in that effort, a Nottinghamshire victory never looked in doubt after the skipper strode to the crease. His side were wobbling on 22-2, but that became 101-3 when he departed, having hit 4 fours and 4 sixes in a partnership of 79 with Michael Lumb which took them to the brink. Victory was sealed with three overs remaining by Samit Patel, but it was Christian's contribution with the bat that Notts will be thankful for.
Benny Howell Gloucestershire – The all-rounder had a good day with bat and ball, but his effort came in vain as Kent recorded a tight victory over the Bristol side. Howell started off by taking an impressive 3-29 from his four overs, recording the wickets of Tom Latham, the in-form Sam Northeast and the dangerous Darren Stevens. The good form shown with the ball continued with the bat, Howell struck a six and 3 fours in his 23-ball 37. His wicket was a crucial one, and when he fell run out by Alex Blake, Kent pressed home their advantage and strangled Gloucestershire's lower order – winning by just 3 runs. Howell can be proud of his efforts, and with support from just one other batsman he would be celebrating victory, not just a good performance.
Ashar Zaidi Essex – Zaidi makes it consecutive call-ups to the VTFO TOTW after an impressive all-round performance in Essex's three run win over Hampshire. He made a crucial 47 at just over a run a ball, including just two fours and six – the innings held together the Essex effort and consequently pushed them to a narrow victory. His bowling effort was however the most impressive, he went for a cheap 16 runs and took two vital wickets – those of recently England-capped all-rounder Liam Dawson and the experienced Sean Ervine for single figure scores. His bowling kept Hampshire in check as Essex ran through their batting order with just James Vince threatening to spoil the Essex party as the England man held the Hampshire reply together but when Vince departed bowled by Napier, the host came up just short in their victory effort.
Scott Borthwick Durham – England touted all-rounder Borthwick took four wickets in Durham's comprehensive victory over Leicestershire, finishing with spectactular figures of 4-18 from his four over allotment. Borthwick along with fellow England leg spinner Adil Rashid are quickly putting an end to the conception that leg spin is a weakness in the shorter form – the bad balls often get wickets. Borthwick's figures add weight to the theory that a leg-spinner in the team is a positive; the wickets of dangerous overseas batsmen Cameron Delport and Faraan Behardien were pivotal in his side's win. He also added the tail-end wickets of Ben Raine, a useful all-rounder himself, and Tom Wells. The margin of victory, 5 wickets, was such that Borthwick wasn't required to bat but his bowling efforts are by far impressive enough to earn him a spot in this week's TOTW.
Timm Van Der Gugten Glamorgan – Dutchman Van Der Gugten is having a very impressive season, particularly in the shortest form. His 4-17 versus Sussex and 2-13 versus Middlesex took his season tally of wickets to 16, third in the list on highest wicket-takers – the signing may have been overlooked by many but has worked out well for the Welsh county. Van Der Gugten's four against Sussex included the top three of the Sharks batting order, removing Chris Nash for a laboured 4 off 17 balls, Luke Wright for 2 off 5 and Phillip Salt for 9 off 10. Against Middlesex, the Dutchman's spell of three included a maiden as well as the scalps of John Simpson and former New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin.
Nuwan Kulasekera Sussex – Sri Lankan seamer Kulasekara showed his worth as a replacement for the talented Bangladeshi Mustafizur Rahman by taking a four-fer in Sussex's heavy loss to Glamorgan on Thursday. His four for 28 included the wickets of Mark Wallace, the experienced Jacques Rudolph, Aneurin Donald for a first ball duck and Graham Wagg. The Sri Lankan may have been a late-notice replacement but he sure does come with international pedigree, having played second fiddle to Lasith Malinga for much of his international career Kulasekara seldom disappoints. His nagging length, and variations are pivotal and any side is lucky to have him in their XI – Sussex may be ruing their luck that Mustafizur can't fulfill his contract, but in Kulasekara they have a more than ample replacement.
Imran Tahir Nottinghamshire – South African leg-spinner Tahir makes it two leg-spinning bowlers in the side, his 3 for 13 from 4 helped Notts rattle through Northamptonshire's batting order to bowl them out for 122. Tahir is renowned as somewhat of a limited overs specialist and these figures only back-up that tag, his variations often baffle batsman who struggle to pick his action – and he has been a dangerous bowler on the County circuit for Middlesex, Hampshire and Warwickshire in the various forms of limited overs cricket we have seen across the years.
Clint McKay Leicestershire – The experienced paceman added three wickets to his tally in the Foxes' romp to victory over Derbyshire, as well as contributing a run out to the cause. His first wicket was the crucial one of James Neesham who was piling runs on for the Falcons at some lick, eventually falling for a handy 45 from 23. McKay then added two further wickets, bowling Alex Hughes and Tom Milnes with those deadly yorkers we have come to expect from the Aussie.
Picked by T20 specialist Charlie Jennings.
Jason Roy Surrey: – England's T20 opener showed just why he is one of the highest rated short format batsmen in the country, if not the world. He struck 109 from 67 balls, guiding his Surrey team to a mammoth total of 205-4, which Sussex could not overhaul. Roy's innings contained 16 fours and only one maximum – but set the tone perfectly for the innings in a 107 run partnership with Kumar Sangakkara for the second wicket. Roy took a particular liking to the bowling of South African David Wiese, smashing two fours and that singular six in successive balls in an over that went for 17. The Englishman brought up his century from 61 balls, and this innings, in particular, was the one that took this match away from Sussex.
Chris Nash Sussex (C): – The Sussex opener fired a magnificent century on Wednesday in his side's comprehensive victory over Somerset. His 112 came from 64 balls and contained 3 maximums to go alongside his 13 boundaries. In particular, the Englishman took a liking to the short leg-side boundary at Hove, assisted by the breeze – and brought up his maiden T20 hundred by depositing Jamie Overton over long-on for one of those maximums. It was all the more impressive that the 33-year old's innings upstaged West Indian Chris Gayle's arrival for Somerset, making his first appearance in this edition of the NatWest T20 Blast. Nash outshone his Jamaican counterpart, and alongside Luke Wright (83 off 39, 8 fours and 5 sixes) led the Sharks into posting a huge score of 223 for Gayle and his teammates to chase down, which they failed to do by quite a margin.
Varun Chopra Birmingham Bears: – Chopra's first innings in this year's blast could not have gone any better, making an unbeaten 97 to guide his side to a comfortable nine-wicket win over the Durham Jets. Chopra began with good intentions, striking a glorious six over extra cover in the first over of the innings, and followed that up with two more lusty blows for six during the powerplay. His 97 came from just 58 balls, the former Bears captain totalling up 8 fours along with 5 sixes and it was left, fittingly so, to Chopra to hit the winning runs with a gentle two. This innings impressed as it involved clever manipulation of the strike along with tactically timed boundary hitting, which always had the Bears on top of their run chase. He struck 94 in ten overs with skipper Ian Bell (35 off 27) before Bell departed, but safely saw the Bears home in partnership with Will Porterfield (18 off 29). Chopra will now be looking to seal a place in the starting XI for the Bears, having only featured due to Sam Hain being struck down with food poisoning shortly before the match – it would be a shock should he not retain that place in the squad now.
Joe Root Yorkshire Vikings: – The ever-impressive Yorkshireman Root struck a blindingly good 92 not out in a losing effort in the Roses match. Root lacked support throughout the innings from any of his teammates, and in the end was stranded 8 runs short of a deserved century as well as 26 runs of the Vikings' victory target of 205. It was, however, a typical Root innings - the like that we saw countless times during England's run to the World T20 final, it included a glorious array of strokes that brought Root 8 fours and 3 sixes. Root grew ever more frustrated throughout the innings, it would only have taken one batsman to stick with him and make a half decent contribution to take the Vikings close – and to such a proud Yorkshireman, a Roses defeat is as bitter as it comes.
Liam Livingstone Lancashire Lightning (w/k): – What a player Lancashire have on their hands. Livingstone took to the Yorkshire attack with a brutal display of some monstrous hitting that left the crowd taking cover. The youngster showed just what potential the Red Rose can look forward to seeing on display over the coming years as he hit a 23-ball 55, including four huge sixes. Livingstone paved the way for Lancashire to set a highly demanding target for Yorkshire to chase. Livingstone and Karl Brown were the main foils to the Yorkshire bowling attack as they put together a speedy 98 together in just 8.2 overs – Livingstone eventually falling to the experienced Liam Plunkett. It was an incredible feat from such a young man, and in front of the Sky cameras, we must just have seen one of the future England stars be born.
Aneurin Donald Glamorgan: – Young Welshman Aneurin Donald is touted as one the future stars of English cricket, and showed just why his reputation has grown to such heights against Hampshire. He blitzed the Hampshire attack with a series of blows to make a fast-paced and crucial 55 from 32 balls. Astonishingly, Donald's first 18 runs off the bat all came from boundaries and included hitting experienced all-rounder Darren Sammy for a six and a four off the first two balls of the 5th over, and followed that up with consecutive fours off the last two of that over to hit Sammy for 18 in his only over. For Donald this was his second t20 fifty of his career, having hit his first on Wednesday night versus Essex. The England Under 19 batsman's innings eventually curtailed when he was bowled by Liam Dawson, but by that time had hit 7 fours and 3 sixes in compiling a score which had taken Glamorgan from a precariously positioned 9/2 to a healthy 103/3 alongside Ingram.
Rikki Clarke Birmingham Bears: – The veteran Clarke showed just what a key player he is in the Birmingham lineup as he played his first match of this campaign, and took outstanding figures of 2-25 from his four overs opening the bowling. Clarke began well, beating the bat of the dangerous Phil Mustard a couple of times before being planted over the square leg boundary and being driven for four – it was his second over that set the tone. The former Surrey man had Graham Clark held outstandingly at mid-on by Josh Poysden and no runs were scored from the over as Clarke really began to dig the Durham batsman a hole. It was no surprise – Clarke bowled more dot balls than anyone else in last year's competition. He then had another in his third, Michael Richardson being a bit too adventurous and scooping him right into the hands of fine leg. The all-rounder had really set Durham's innings back and at the end of his spell, the Jets were reeling at 49/3. Durham struggled to an eventual total of 154/9, which the Bears chased down emphatically, and Clarke's powerplay bowling is so often the reason the Bears restricts the opposition to manageable totals.
Jimmy Neesham Derbyshire Falcons: – T20 specialist Neesham provided the type of performance Derbyshire will have been looking for when they signed the New Zealand international – Neesham was a class above on the day and in what was a low-scoring match against the Leicestershire Foxes his international experience told. Neesham's important performance began with the ball; he took 3 for 26 from his four overs – taking the key early wickets of Aussie Mark Cosgrove and Irishman Kevin O'Brien cheaply, for 1 and 9 respectively. Later in the innings, Neesham had Neil Dexter caught to prevent any score of real danger being posted by the Foxes. It was then left to Neesham to see home the innings with a short cameo of 29 from 22 balls with one six. Just when the Falcons may have been getting nervous, with the wickets falling at regular intervals, the Kiwi's calm head proved pivotal in a short partnership with the also impressive Shiv Thakor, who scored the winning runs.
Chris Woakes Birmingham Bears: - Local lad Woakes continued his early season hot streak in taking outstanding figures of 3 for 25 from his four overs. Woakes showed just what he has added to his game to make him a real contender for an England spot – real pace alongside great variation to underpin the batsmen trying to attack him. Woakes roughed up danger man Phil Mustard with a couple of fiery bouncers, one striking Mustard on the head before another short one was top-edged into the hands Josh Poysden. Paul Coughlin was Woakes' next victim, a mistimed slog caught by Rikki Clarke and two balls later Scott Borthwick was sent back for a golden duck, dollying a catch to silly mid off. Woakes was crucial, along with Rikki Clarke in restricting the Jets batsman to a manageable total.
Andrew Tye Gloucestershire: - The Australian paceman showed just why he has been capped at international level in the shortest format, taking an impressive 3-18 from his four overs to restrict Kent to a below-par total of 144 for 7. Tye's first over was perhaps the most crucial, getting rid of the in-form Daniel Bell-Drummond for an underwhelming 25 in the sixth over, which went for just 1 run. The man from Perth then came back in the 10th over to prevent the threatening Darren Stevens from making an impact on Kent's total – bowling him for 11. He then struck with the first ball of his penultimate over, having Fabian Cowdrey caught and his impressive spell ensured that the Spitfires had created no real momentum. And the visitors knocked off the 145 required easily, sealing victory in the last over.
Michael Hogan Glamorgan: - Four wickets for Hogan helped bowl out Hampshire for a paltry total of 141. Hogan ripped into the Hampshire batting line-up before Dale Steyn returned late in the innings to finish off the tail; he began by removing both openers in consecutive overs. Michael Carberry was his first victim, mistiming a pull and being caught at backward point, he was soon followed by James Vince who was bowled for 27. Hogan returned later in the innings to remove Liam Dawson and the big-hitting Shahid Afridi – who threatened to blow away the Glamorgan bowlers late on in the innings in making a quick fire 32. Hogan and Steyn polished off Hampshire with relative ease, and a total of 141 was always too little. Some big hitting from Aneurin Donald and Colin Ingram ensured Hogan's efforts were in a winning cause.
Written by Charlie Jennings (@AVCJX - resident T20 VFTO Coach)
Charlie Jennings - T20 Team of the Week Specialist
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