June 19 2013 Latest news:
by Marcus Hook, at the Kia Oval
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Surrey beat Middlesex by eight runs
Gareth Batty (6-83) and Murali Kartik (3-91) spun Surrey to tense and much needed eight-run victory over Middlesex on the final day of the LV= County Championship Division One clash at the Oval.
When the visitors’ last pair, Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh came together in the 71st over, Middlesex still needed 57 to win. Taking no risks, they very nearly denied their south London rivals.
The result lifts Surrey them 18 points clear of the relegation zone with three matches to play, the last of which is against fellow strugglers Lancashire at Liverpool. Similarly, Middlesex, who have now lost three out of their last four in the championship, will have more of interest in the teams sitting below them in the table, now their hopes of going for the title have all but disappeared.
But other than Steven Crook’s 67 off 88 balls, it was Surrey’s day. After the match, their skipper, Gareth Batty said: “I can’t remember playing in too many games like that. For everything that’s gone on this season that was a must win and we were on the right end of it. Middlesex made it very difficult. All credit to them. They played some brilliant cricket.
“I dread to think what would have happened had we not won that game. So, we thank our lucky stars that all the hard work we’ve done… everybody at this club, from Mark Church, to Princess (the catering manger), to the people in the office, to all our current staff and all our players that is a win for the club and we move forward with great heart now.”
On what it feels like to be in the eye of a storm, Batty added: “Captaincy is tough at the best of times, but you’re given a job and you do it the best you can. My heart was pounding so hard I was worried it would pop or explode. But it’s a great feeling. There’s nothing better than winning on the fourth day when you’ve put in the hard yards. It’s still very emotional singing our victory song at the minute, because of what it means to us. The young fella who’s not with us and won’t be with us again unfortunately, Tom Maynard, would have taken a huge amount of pride in that performance.”
Resuming on 45 for one, Middlesex lost Sam Robson and Tom Smith, the nightwatchman, before adding to their overnight total. Robson departed to the sixth delivery of the day, to a catch at slip off Murali Kartik, who was in the action again when Smith steered Batty into the Indian’s hands at leg slip two balls later.
Joe Denly and Dawid Malan then stood firm for the next 17 overs before the former, pushing forward, fell leg before to Batty for 12 to make it 88 for four. A couple of overs later, the Surrey skipper had Neil Dexter tickling to leg slip.
With more than 30 minutes to go to lunch, Andrew Balbirnie and then Malan joined the procession when Balbirnie aimed a sweep at Kartik, missed and was struck on the chest and Malan (33) went to a brilliant catch by Jason Roy, low and to his right at slip, off Batty to leave Middlesex staring down the barrel on 101 for seven.
But then an eighth wicket partnership of 96 in 28 overs between Steven Crook and Adam Rossington gave Surrey plenty to think about.
In the 44th over, Crook drove Batty belligerently straight down the ground for four. Five overs later, he cut Kartik to the rope at cover point, which prompted Surrey to remove a close catcher and push four men out to the boundary. But Crook responded by slog sweeping Kartik for six in the 51st.
Rossington cut the fifth delivery after lunch for four. Four overs later, Crook swept Kartik to the rope at backward square leg via umpire Nigel Cowley’s right leg. Crook then brought up a 58-ball half-century with a swept four off Batty, which he celebrated by dabbing the former England off-spinner to the rope at third man to leave his side needing 85 to win.
In the 68th over, the introduction of pace in the shape of Jade Dernbach saw the ball race away for four leg byes before flying past the man at short midwicket for four off the middle of Crook’s blade to shave the requirement to 59.
But Dernbach hit back by prizing out Crook with a slower ball delivered from the back of the hand. Two balls later, Rossington edged Kartik low to slip. But Middlesex were still not ready to lie down, as Roland-Jones and Murtagh proved by putting on 48 in 19 overs at the end.