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Josh Green, London24’s Surrey blogger
Friday, June 15, 2012
Two games in to the 2012 Twenty20 campaign and Surrey have a 100% record having comfortably beaten Essex and Middlesex in their opening fixtures.
They started the competition as the bookies favourites to lift the trophy, but are they now beginning to justify that tag?
Essex, based on the two most recent fixtures at the Oval are a baffling side.
They are packed with all round firepower. Bopara, ten Doeschate, Franklin, Napier and Smith are all capable batsmen and bowlers. In Pettini and Shah that have two classy specialist batsmen to complement them and Tim Phillips is one of English cricket’s leading Twenty20 spinners, but Surrey rolled them over quite easily in the end, despite setting a below par total.
Middlesex are a side less-obviously suited to Twenty20 cricket, but nonetheless they have some serious talent in their side. Dawid Malan and Paul Stirling are clean hitters of a cricket ball and with Rayner, Tom Smith, Roland-Jones and the talents of Tim Murtagh to call on in the bowling.
Again though, despite a rocky start with the bat, Surrey ran out easy winners.
We will come up against sterner tests undoubtedly. Sussex and Hampshire will present very difficult challenges - particularly the latter, and Kent always seem to bring their A-game when playing us.
But it feels like we’ve got answers to most things. If our top order collapses (as it has) we have resilient middle order players to steady the ship.
If it’s a flat track we’ve got the batsmen to take advantage and if its a slow pitch we have a plethora of spin options to call on.
Not to mention the fast bowling talent sitting on the sidelines - Chris Tremlett is fit but hasn’t made the side in the first two games.
All things considered, the favourites tag sits quite easily with this side.
They are a supremely confident bunch, where some teams may like the underdog status, I reckon this lot thrive on being the favourites.
Let’s just hope they can keep this winning momentum up and beyond the T20 use it to transform our Championship form.