Royals Humbled By All-Round Surrey
Surrey 145-6 (de Bruyn 41no) beat
Hampshire 142-9 (Mahmood 2-9) by 4 wickets
Second Friends Life t20 Semi-Final
A Zafar Ansari maximum proved crucial for Surrey as they caused a surprise by beating defending champions in the second Friends Life t20 semi-final.
Chris Wood (2-40), normally so reliable at the death, dropped just short of yorker length and was punished with a handsome lofted straight drive by Ansari which cleared the ropes. Two balls later, he was slightly too full and was drilled in the same direction for four. From needing 18 off two overs, Surrey would require only three from the last one and would have little difficulty in achieving it.
In truth, the Brown Caps had always been just ahead of the game once the Royals had posted a below-par 142 for nine. However, Hampshire scrapped hard as champions always do and stayed in the contest by taking regular wickets. Dimitri Mascarenhas, quite possibly playing the final twenty20 game of his long and illustrious career, got through four characteristically tidy overs at a cost of 24 runs and removed Jason Roy, while Wood had Steven Davies caught at mid-wicket.
That early double-strike, reducing Surrey to 17 for two, gave Hampshire hope after Azhar Mahmood had excelled with the ball for Surrey. Glenn Maxwell and Vikram Solanki, though, began the recovery, with the latter looking in particularly fine touch before missing a straight ball off Danny Briggs (1-28). Maxwell (26 off 21 balls) was soon caught off the other left-arm spinner, Liam Dawson, but Zander de Bruyn showed all of his experience.
De Bruyn ended on 41 not out off 40 balls and guided the latter half of the Surrey run chase, which was almost interrupted by rain on several occasions. He also managed to cope with the loss of two wickets in two balls - Wood was so nearly the star, having Gary Wilson caught brilliantly by Neil McKenzie and then watching as Azhar Mahmood was narrowly run out without facing a ball. Ansari came in, however, and after a slightly nervy start, struck the two decisive blows. In a match that was so tight it was all that was needed to tilt the balance in one side’s favour.
Azhar Mahmood looked to have done more than enough for Surrey with the ball, taking two for nine from his four overs as the match followed a completely different pattern to that of the first boundary-laden semi-final. Hampshire also lost a steady stream of wickets and it was Sean Ervine who held their innings together. He made 47 off 32 balls as they fought back from 38 for three. Ultimately, though, their total of 142 for nine wouldn’t be quite enough and it is arguably the two underdogs who have progressed to this evening’s final.
© Cricket World 2013