12 July 2007

Crafty Warney Captaincy

Hampshire beat Warwickshire yesterday in a nailbiting finish, chasing down a stiff target of 331 with just 3 balls remaining in the match. The game was a perfect advert for county cricket - despite having just under two days rained off, spectators got to see some quality play as both sides strived for victory, a possibility that only came about from negotiations over declarations and forfeits between the skippers, Shane Warne and Darren Maddy.

I have a feeling though that Maddy may well return to Edgbaston feeling he's been had. It seems that the day started with an agreement that Hampshire would chase Warwickshire's first innings declared total of 353 off 96 overs. For this to happen, the second and third innings of the match would have to be forfeited. However, Hampshire snuck in a cameo first innings of 23-1 off 11 balls, much to the surprise of many at the ground. At this point Maddy could have justifiably told his team to go out to bat and shut up shop if he felt aggrieved at Warne's unilateral 'renegotiation'. But clearly he didn't feel that way and rather thought that chasing 331 off 92 was beyond the home side.

He was so nearly right - I doubt he could have accounted for Michael Carberry's brilliant unbeaten 192 (whilst batting with a runner) and would be easy to blame the 4 no balls and one wide (5 extra balls bowled...) as being the difference between defeat and a deserved draw, but such hindsight in this case would be misled. The truth is that Warne's aggressive gambit yesterday morning gave his side the slenderest of advantages and with some inspired batting from Carberry and Mascarenhas at the end, they took used it to full effect.


Ed said...

Sounds like an exciting finish to watch. But it sums up a couple of the issues in country cricket for me - far too many games are manufactured because of the weather or the complete lack of a chance of a result....can we really say for sure that Hampshire would have won a "proper" game?

Anonymous said...

Is there a case for reduced (or differently structured) match points if a game has to be manufactured to such an extent.

In attempting this result by basically forfeiting their first innings Hampshire chose not to attempt to get batting bonus points. Had they lost they would have got very few points which may have been critical at the end of the season.

Mark Davis said...

But that's the attraction of cricket and longer games in particular. Even at our level you often have to run the risk of losing in order to give yourself the chance of winning.Further issues like forfeiting the possibility of bonus points merely add to the challenge of decision making. This allows the captain more opportunity to justify his corn.