It's been far to long since Michael Lumb and Jimmy Adams combined in a one day match at the top of the order to decide the outcome of the game. I can think of the final Pro40 match of last season against Notts, but the time they truly came to town was during the run up to, and including the FPT Final last spring and summer. Durham have officially played Lumb back into form - Lumb has played 3 innings against Durham in 6 days and has returned scores of 64, 75 and 158, which is fantastic news for both Lumb and Hampshire as it hopefully solves the number 3 position in the Championship again, plus we have the second one day opener back scoring runs. Tasked with chasing down a total of 206 for victory, Adams and Lumb put on a fine display of power hitting, strike rotation and solid defense on a wicket that didn't offer stacks for the bowler but certainly wasn't a road either. When Adams failed to clear mid-on off of the bowling of Benkenstein, the required runs were only 56 as the opening pair had put on 150. Adams played extremely well, scoring 86 at better than a run a ball including two maximums and six 4s. Unlike last year it was Adams that came out the aggressive one, finding the shorter legside boundary early on whilst Lumb looked shaky early doors. It was perhaps clear that the two had not batted together properly in a long time as a couple of mix ups could have run out either of the two at points in the innings. As it was though, both men survived and nullified the pace attack, Plunkett in particular coming in for some harsh treatment. A six over cow corner by Lumb was celebrated with a fly-over from a Lancaster bomber, and soon the spinners were on but not even that stopped the pair. An outside edge whilst dancing down the track that went for 4 showed that finally Lumb had a bit of luck on his side.
Vince replaced Adams and took four or five balls to find the middle of the bat, but he got off the mark with a shimmy down the wicket and a whip of the bat to send a Breese ball past a diving mid on and to the boundary. He then fell as he cut Benkenstein to Breese at point who juggled the ball but held on. Lumb was the next to go, again dancing down the wicket but missing what looked like a Blackwell quicker ball and was cleaned up. McKenzie then fell to Benkenstein too, with an inside edge onto off-stump. Despite losing effectively 4-43, an assuring arm was provided by Carberry appearing at 5 in the order, and with a solid Dan Christian, in for Slug at 6, the pair put any nerves to bed and finished off the game, Carberry cutting through a packed off-side field to end the game. To be honest the game could have been over quicker but for excellent outfield work on the longer eastern boundary by young Stokes in particular. In all truthfulness though, restricting Durham to 205-8 was quite an achievement. Captain Mustard opened with di Venuto, and much to everyone's suprise it was di Venuto who was the aggressor, ruthlessly cutting and pulling Cork for 4 from the pavilion end. Cork's first two overs went for 23 but from the other end a little miracle was unfolding, as Wood bowled with pace but above all accuracy, cramping the Colonel up for space and restricting di Venuto to the odd single. When Wood removed Mustard's offstump in his third over, his figures read 1-5, a slight improvement of Cork and Christian's combined figures from the other end of 3 overs for 34. di Venuto continued to make merry but was then outdone by Simon Jones, making his first 40 over start for Hampshire, as substitute Benham took a great low catch inside the ring on the on side.
di Venuto - the top order aggressor
At 55-2 Durham had lost both openers but the assured Benkenstein was at the crease with Ben Harmison. However Christian, Jones and Briggs turned the screws, making runs extremely hard to come by as the run rate collapsed. Jones bowled particularly well, and his pace looked up on his 20/20 performances, and his accuracy was better too. Christian bowled accurately, recovering from his nightmare first over, whilst Briggs held his nerve as the batting pair tested the water concerning going after the young spinner. There must have been 2 or 3 possible chances in one of Briggs' overs as both batsmen decided to go aerial but to not much effect, Cork getting a fingertip to one ball but not holding on. It was Briggs who got the breakthrough when Harmison tried to mow one over cow corner but picked out the boundary rider Christian for a frustrated 30 off 53. Muchall was next man in but did not look comfortable either, especially against Jones, and struggled to get any sort of innings going. Adams put him out of his misery though, Benkenstein calling a single that really wasn't on and a direct hit from Adams settled the matter. A slight groan filled the ground though as coming out at number 6 was Blackwell, not the player you want to see come in with 11 overs to spare. However Blackwell looked short of match fitness, as he laboured both his shots and his running. You wonder if Benkenstein did it on purpose, as he again called for a single that wasn't available, and Christian and Bates combined to send Blackwell trudging back to the dressing room. Benkenstein fell soon after as panic set in amongst Durham, realising that 200 was going to be close to their score. Cork had brought himself back on to repair his figures, but Benkenstein targeted the short boundary only to be cut off by a diving Lumb a few metres in from the ropes ending a boundary-less 33 from 57 balls. Breese very nearly lost his wicket straight away, gloving to Bates but Cork had overstepped, much to his protestations. Together Breese and Stokes started scoring quickly, finding the boundary in the powerplay before Wood was brought back on to bowl out his overs. Standing up to the stumps, Bates held onto a faint edge off Breese, who walked immediately to give Wood his second wicket. Plunkett lasted two balls as he top edged Christian to Briggs at fine leg. Claydon let his intentions be known as he warmed up at the crease by swishing his bat in a cow corner arc. It worked to an extent as he found the boundary twice, the second off the last ball of the innings as Durham ended on 205-8. Stokes unbeaten at the other end on 31 but he'd be frustrated as hewas unable to accelerate the innings as much as he would have wanted to.
So another victory in the CB40 and amazingly our hopes of making the quarter finals are still alive. More urgent on the agenda though is the impending match against Somerset in the Championship at Taunton. Taunton is not known for producing results, so a maximum point draw is probably all we can hope for to be truthful. However, yesterday's win coupled with the growing excitement over saturday could cause someone to spark in the team. It looks like Christian may play instead of Ervine again, as Slug sat out yesterday's match with a back niggle. I expect Tomlinson and Balcombe to come back in for Wood and Jones to leave an otherwise unchanged team from the one that played so well against Durham at Basingstoke.
Think the humour/ huggable nature of Wes, plus the knowledge of greyblazer, then reverse it and you have a blogger basically resembling me. I spend way too much time following cricket and writing very poorly about it, so for those with a sympathetic streak, enjoy the blog!
Like anyone would be interested in a label called 'crap'...