Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Twenty 20: Time for the butchers of Surrey v Murali

Friends Life Twenty20 preview: Surrey v Glos

The Jessop Tavern is conducting a social experiment this Thursday at the Oval. Thanks to a sweet ticket deal obtained from popular website Groupon, we will actually be present at the game to watch Murali, Kevin O'Brien and Kane Williamson take on the flat track bullies of Surrey. If you are also attending the game, perhaps you would like to come say hello to one half of the Jessop Tavern View? We know that there are a few of you who of you read the blog, so if you fancy a pint and a natter about the trials and tribulations of being a Glos/county cricket supporter, send me a tweet @tgwill.

Right, on to the match preview for what could be an interesting game. Gloucestershire have, frankly, been pretty awful in T20 in recent seasons. Last year was a particular nadir, as we lost 11 group games and finished bottom of the South Group with just 10 points. However, we are feeling a bit more optimistic about this year's competition, not least because of the high profile signing of legendary rubber-wristed Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan. He may be 39 years old, he may be a bit of a mercenary these days, he may have been taken apart by the Spear in the 2007 T20 semis but we reckon he is still pretty handy when he only has to bowl 4 overs. Plus, just look at that grin in today's interview on the official site. If ever there was a man who can smell some cheap county wickets, Murali is that man.

Glos fans can also look forward to a sighting of the Butcher of Bangalore, Kevin O'Brien, in his natural T20 habitat. We are also interested to see how young Kane Williamson gets on in the shortest format. His highest score in 10 domestic T20s is just 30, but we would expect him to improve on that during this tournament. Where better to start than on the flat, hard Oval deck against a pacey attack?

Thanks to our new friends at the Surrey Cricket Blog, we know that Surrey have a batting line up to fear. However, with the absence of Tremlett and Jade Dernbach on England test duty, there's rather less fast bowling to be worried about. That said, Surrey have replaced one Aussie T20 signing with another (and arguably a superior one than the original at that.) Shaun Tait's patchwork quilt of a body decided that even 4 over spells were going to be too much for him, so they picked up former Dutchman and Cricketwithballs favourite Dirk Nannes. Like I said, a clear improvement and someone to be very wary of at the start of the innings.

Anyway, let's hope for a big Thursday night crowd and some entertainment to get the Twenty20 season off to a good start. Chief Executive Tom Richardson will certainly be hoping so, as rumour has it even the big money acquisition of Murali has failed to have much impact on ticket sales for the Shire's home games.

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