And so we’re back to the franchise cricket. A mode of the sport that leaves me feeling like it’s dismissively tossed a washcloth at me on the way out the door, and told me to clean myself up.
Joe Denly is out injured, so Rory Burns comes in.
Crazy Horse Mark Wood missed out last time but I like him and his nagging, difficult line so he’s in.
Daniel Lawrence was fine last game but I want to keep Roelof van der Merwe and Luis Reece, and this sees Mohammad Nabi take his handy batting as high as 8.
Nottingham are not bad.
This is quite the understatement. Alex ‘Legalize it’ Hales opens; Dawid Malan, Joe Root and my own Rashid Khan are all in their XI.
Staggeringly, we win the toss. I opt to bowl based on the conditions
Amir takes the new ball to Hales and Malan. We tweak the field based on their preferences.
Hales takes a single off the first ball.
That brings Malan on strike.
He goes postal.
6, 6, 4 and a single to keep the stroke. 17 off 4 balls and Amir is stalking back to third man, tail firmly inserted between legs.
The two of them don’t let up. It’s actually impressive – if startling.
As they reach 70, I bring on van der Merwe. He does the trick, dismissing Malan for 50 – off 19 balls – the catch being taken by Adam Rossington behind the stumps. 70-1.
This brings Joe Root to the wicket. Oh joy.
I sling on Toby Roland-Jones. First ball, he cleans up the England captain uprooting his off stump. So long, JR. who shot ya? 81-2.
Tom Moores comes in. TRJ follows up his first ball by trapping him for a big, fat quacker. Off you jog, Captain Tom.
Next into the firing line is “Arsey” D’Arcy Short. He doesn’t like full pitched bowling edging the leg side.
I move the field settings to “sectionable aggression” for old Tobe’s hat trick delivery.
Doesn’t work. He runs a single.
The game goes on. Next time TRJ strolls to the wicket, Hales hits a two.
Now overly cocky, he plays a cover drive. The ball comes back in and he’s run out. Gone for 26. 93-4, 47 balls bowled.
Ben Cox comes to the wicket. He goes hard at both Nabi and Glenn Maxwell who are twirling away.
Eventually Toby Rowland-Jones skids along the turf and takes a worldy of a catch racing in from the boundary off Nabi. 144-5.
Lewis Gregory teams up with Short. LG survives a decent lbw shout, but it’s Short who brings his innings to a close.
He tries to sweep Maxwell. It doesn’t go well. I snort with derision. Gone for 33. 150 for 6. 77/100 balls gone.
Luke Wood is next with his head on the block. He makes 11 off 9 balls, but Roland-Jones bowls the slower one and Amir takes the catch. 177-7.
Nathan Coulter-Nile gets out, trapped on the crease by Maxwell for 2. 182-8.
My Sussex employee Khan skips out to bat. Considering he’s in serious danger of having his contract cancelled for being rubbish for me, a duck here would do him no harm in my eyes.
He hits Maxwell for a boundary.
Nottingham bring their innings to a close at 187-8.
Burns is first up. He savages Coulter-Nile, taking 13 off him in 5 balls. Denly who?
But, they tie us down.
We edge along, but after 35 balls, we’re 46-0. They’d lost 4 wickets but they’d also scored nearly twice as many runs at the same stage. 142 off 65 needed.
Burns departs to f-ing Khan for 37. 53-1.
Eoin Morgan is the new man in. He could win this for us here.
But they continue to strangle us. Khan conceded only 13 off 15 balls and we fall further and further behind the run rate. 109 from 40 balls required.
Zak Crawly has been really quite anonymous.
Suddenly, he finds his feet. 4, 4 – promising.
Out. Caught Cox, bowled Wood. 29 off 27. 93-2.
95 off 31 required.
Morgan hits 6 fours, but Gregory gets him to snick behind and Cox takes a great catch. 108-3.
80 from 22.
Adam Rossington comes in, plants his feet, hits a 4 and then gets out, also to Gregory. 112-4.
76 from 20.
Maxwell has been fighting the good fight but we’re so far behind the run rate, I’ve had to put him onto maximum aggression. He gets trapped by Coulter-Nile for 18. 127-5.
61 from 10. A doddle.
Reece goes for 3, spooning one to Moores at deep mid on. 127-6.
61 off 9.
Nabi, who has been bumped up for his batting remember, goes for 1. 137-7.
51 from 6.
Needless to say, we don’t make it. We end on 146-7 and Nottingham win by 41 runs.
We have a day off to enjoy our defeat and then our next game is against Leeds.
Who also look pretty good, alas.
I hate short form cricket. I really do.