SURREY HAVE NO ANSWER TO YARDY AND GOODWIN by Marcus Hook
Surrey Brown Caps 272-9 (50 Overs) v Sussex Sharks 274-5 (48.2 Overs). Sussex Sharks win by 5 wickets.
Thanks to a fourth wicket partnership of 156 in 27 overs from Murray Goodwin and Michael Yardy, Sussex cruised past Surrey's useful total of 272 for nine with ten balls to spare. On a sunny, if brisk, last day of April, the Brown Caps simply had no answer to the often unappreciated pair, who combined to record-breaking effect to save their side's opening championship game of the season, against Warwickshire at Hove.
It could also be argued, however, that three factors separated the two sides yesterday. After winning the toss and making a superb start, Surrey's innings lacked momentum in its final stages; on a flat pitch, one of the frontline bowlers - Rikki Clarke - hobbled off, plus the hosts did little to help their cause by sending down 18 wides, thirteen of them in the first 28 overs of the Sharks' victory charge.
But it looked a very different game when Jonathan Batty claimed a hat-trick of chances behind the wicket to put the skids under Sussex. Richard Montgomerie went without scoring in the first over, Matt Prior followed four overs later, in almost identical fashion - fending tentatively at Azhar Mahmood. Chris Adams exited in the twelfth; though not before taking three fours in four balls off Clarke, who was also missed in the field after hobbling off complaining of a sore left shin.
Needing to score 105 off the last twenty, Goodwin and Yardy merely milked the singles as the hosts decided against going for broke and bringing back Azhar, who had three overs left, and Tim Murtagh, who had two, at that stage.
Goodwin perished within sight of the objective, caught at deep square leg off Benning, who could have accounted for him earlier had Batty reacted to a sharp chance when standing up to the stumps. Yardy, who was particularly strong off the back foot in front of square on the off-side, ended the contest with an unbeaten 98 off 105 balls, his highest one-day score, which included eleven fours and a pulled six off Walters.
Earlier, Surrey's innings kicked off with three fifty partnerships, starting with Batty and Benning's initial onslaught, which was worth 83 in twelve overs before James Benning, who made 47 off 29 balls, failed to clear the man posted at mid-off. Benning had shown little regard for James Kirtley, who was making his first appearance of the season, taking the former England international for four boundaries in one over.
Batty then progressed to his own half-century, which he brought up in the 23rd over, off 69 balls, by pulling Martin-Jenkins for four. But, two overs later, the bowler had the last laugh when the Brown Caps' stumper cut him straight to Hopkinson at backward point.
With Mushtaq Ahmed applying the pressure, the boundaries dried up for Surrey, although Mark Ramprakash lofted the Pakistan spinner straight down the ground for six in the thirtieth over and took successive fours off him before holing out on the deep square leg boundary to Yardy, who claimed three for 44.
Mark Butcher, who made 57, only found the rope on four occasions, yet batted with enough confidence to suggest he is not far away from being back to his best. The Surrey skipper departed in the 41st over, when the score was 219, after which the home side lost all momentum.
Clarke skied Rana Naved-ul-Hasan to deep mid-wicket. Azhar, checking his shot, presented an easy catch to cover. Then Stewart Walters was caught at mid-wicket, putting the team's cause ahead of his own, before Alistair Brown was bowled playing across the line to Kirtley and Nayan Doshi, backing away, lost his oft stump.