Surrey's only remaining hope of silverware in 2012 is fading fast following defeat in a low-scoring game in Southampton. Hampshire reached their target of 176 with eleven balls to spare and four wickets in hand.
The day started in the best possible fashion as Batty won the toss, something which we can now almost take for granted. Something else we can all but take for granted is a top order collapse. Our limited overs matches this season have seen such gems as 8 for 5 against Nottinghamshire, 9 for 4 against Hampshire in the T20, 32-4 against Middlesex and we followed that up today with 38-4, including ducks for Pietersen and Roy, the men most likely to propel us to a match winning score.
Spin did a fair amount of damage early on with two wickets for Liam Dawson but Chris Wood was also impressive, himself collecting a brace of wickets. They were well backed up by Griffiths who bettered them in finishing the pick of the bowlers with 3-29.
There was only one 50+ partnership in the innings, an excellent one of 94 from Spriegel and de Bruyn, runs coming at last for the latter. He also added 41 in very good time with Zafar Ansari who dominated the scoring with a vital 30 from just 17 balls. It was largely down to the contributions of those three that the score was anything approaching respectable as the last four wickets fell for the addition of just two runs.
Hampshire's target of 176 was by no means stiff, but with the ball turning and Surrey's battery of spinners they could not rest on their laurels. It was essential that they didn't lose early wickets and although the in-form Vince fell in the fourth over Carberry, Adams and Mackenzie played sensibly to see their side to within 50 runs of victory.
A tumble of four wickets for 24 runs between the 30th and 36th overs gave the Surrey bowlers hope but Bates and Ervine saw Hampshire home with a calculated acceleration. Thirteen runs off Ansari's sixth over (after his previous five had gone for just 20, including the wicket of Dawson) was the killer blow as the home side made their target with relative ease.
This was a disappointing defeat which is a real setback in such a tightly fought group. The manner of the defeat is now becoming disappointingly familiar, a top order collapse sparks a valiant fightback, usually involving Spriegel, but ultimately we often fall short of the required 200+ totals needed.
We have two games remaining, one likely to be an emotional affair on Tuesday against Glamorgan and then the final group game a very tough assignment indeed against a Somerset side who have won six on the bounce in this format. To qualify we need to win both games and hope Hampshire lose their final game. It is not beyond a side with proven quality in the CB40, but it's a tough ask with some intense Championship cricket coming up as well.
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