Last time out we managed to take our retched one day form into the County Championship and get abused by Middlesex. Here we have the chance to bounce back by playing… oh.
Surrey are top. We, emphatically, are not.
And boy, they look good: Jason Roy, Hashim Amla, Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Sam Curran and Morne f-ing Morkel.
And that’s just the famous ones.
I look around the squad in the team meeting. Some of this is desperate. George Munsey has had four outings and averages… 3.
Luke Wright – he of more than 50 T20 internationals and at least one World Cup winner’s medal – currently averages 15, as opposed to his career average of 28.
Jofra Archer is back and he comes in for Khan, who no longer gets any stars for form.
We have destroyed his confidence.
I know how he feels.
Unbelievably, we win the toss. But our form is shocking and they’re really good. I opt to bowl.
Roy, apparently, doesn’t love pace bowling or the front foot. So I instruct Jofra to bowl full and fast.
The Englishman departs golden duck as Archer rips his stump out of the ground, a yorker length, swinging in and almost snapping leg stump.
They begin to put a couple of balls away but Archer isn’t having any of it. Amla goes, also clean bowled, and they’re reeling at 11-2.
Rory Burns decides that Mitchell Claydon needs the treatment to regain the initiative. First ball of his over travels for 6, the second, 4. Two singles follow before old Mitch gets his man.
Leg before bleeding wicket. On your way, ya D’Artagnan wannabe tit! All the threes! 33-3
David “so much my man I keep wanting to use the Denzil Washington gig next to his name” Wiese takes the ball as D’Arcy Short comes to the wicket. Short by name etc etc as our bowling plan works and he’s gone lbw for 1. 34-4.
Next, Olly Robinson takes the ball but his two lbw shouts are turned down for swinging too much.
Wiese’s doesn’t. Like a broken playground, his effort doesn’t swing and irritating infant Pope is trotting back to the pavilion. Get in! 47-5 in 7.6 overs.
Quite literally, we’ve never played better.
I leave Wiese on in spite of my usual two over tactics. It doesn’t work – his last over is abused by Ben Foakes and Shadab Khan as they take 20 off him.
Robinson and Wright do well to stem the flow to singles and twos, but they start to get off the hook, progressing to 88-5.
Robinson’s fourth over goes for 19 so that’ll be the pressure back on, then.
Ravi Bopara comes on and does well before Archer comes back into the attack.
He bowls Khan for 63. 158-6
Leash fully slipped.
Wiese bowls the penultimate over and gets whipped about for 20.
Archer, on the other hand, tortures Will Jacks. Inducing three horrible play and misses in a row before uprooting leg stump.
Their innings comes to a close, 184-7.
It’s a total.
A not bad total.
And a huge let off from 5-47.
But we’re not done yet.
I believe in us.
Laurie Evans and Shehan Jayasuriya start positively.
They make 11, including a 6 and a 4, before Evans gets bowled.
Quite the first over.
Wright makes 24 from 16 – including a glorious six off Morkel that had me snorting into my pint of Harvey’s – before nicking off. 40-2.
Just as they are really getting on top of us, and the required runs creep up to near 12 an over, Surrey bring on Amar Virdi. Jayasuriya takes him for 18 off the over.
Rawlins makes 50, but it takes him 51 balls and it’s a knock that kills us. By the time he goes, lbw to Jacks, we need 48 from 2 balls. So, you know, there’s that…
Unsurprisingly, we don’t make it.
Frankly, this one stings. We’ve played so well, Archer has taken 4-34 and we’ve taken the top of the table team to the cleaners.
And we still lost.