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Natwest T20 Blast Quarter Final: Glamorgan v Leicestershire 

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , on August 24, 2017 by telescoper

Last night I went to the Natwest T20 Blast Quarter Final match between Glamorgan and Leicestershire at the SSE Swalec Stadium in Cardiff. By beating Middlesex last week, Glamorgan finished top of the `South’ Group hence the home tie against Leicestershire who finished fourth in the North Midlands Group. In contrast to most of the rest of the competition, we had good weather: there was a bit of cloud, but it was warm and as we settled into our seats we were confident of a full match.

The game was preceded by a moving tribute to the late Don Shepherd, who died last week shortly after celebrating his 90th birthday. It’s a shame he wasn’t around to experience what turned out to be a fine evening for Glamorgan cricket.

Leicestershire won the toss and decided to bat first. They got off to a flying start and although Cameron Delport and Luke Ronchi were both clean bowled by excellent deliveries (the former a superb yorker from Marchant De Lange), Leicestershire emerged from the six overs of Powerplay on 57 for 2. A big score looked likely.

The trajectory of the match thereafter was defined by a really excellent bowling and fielding display from Glamorgan, to such an extent that the next ten overs for Leicestershire produced just 43 runs for the loss of seven wickets. Their last wicket fell in the last over, by which time they had accumulated only 123 runs.

The pick of the Glamorgan bowlers was Craig Meschede who bowled at a sharpish fast-medium, but with the wicket-keeper standing up to the stumps to frustrate the batsmen who clearly wanted to come down the wicket to make use of the short straight boundaries. He also bowled a considerable number of slower balls and cutters, but despite these variations he kept to a very accurate line. He finished with figures of 3 for 17 off his four overs, which is really excellent for this format. At the other end for much of the time, Colin Ingram bowled his leg breaks with similar accuracy and got quite a few to turn; he took the wicket of Wells with one that turned enough to take the leading edge, resulting in a simple caught-and-bowled. Ingram finished with 1-19; both he and Meschede bowled 12 dot balls in their four-over spells. All this was backed up by sharp fielding and good catching.

The target of 124 never looked like being enough, although there was nervousness around the ground when Aneurin Donald holed out to mid off early on after which Glamorgan’s batsmen took some time to get the scoreboard moving. But that was just Rudolph and Ingram being sensible. They had no need to rush with such a modest score to chase. Suddenly Ingram sprang into life and took the bull by the horns. The scoring accelerated with a flurry of boundaries, the tension melted away and the Glamorgan supporters starting singing. In all, Ingram clubbed five huge sixes including one that went so high I lost it in the floodlights and feared it might land on my head. It actually landed in the crowd a few yards away but didn’t cause any injury. Ingram is an impressive player when he gets doing – he hits the ball very hard but it looks so effortless, and he’s as skilled with the rapier as with the bludgeon: many deft flicks and cuts were included in his innings.

Ingram was in no mood to hang about once he’d got his eye in. At the end of the 13th over, Glamorgan were 104 for 1. The next five balls went for 6-6-4-2-4 and that was that. Glamorgan finished 126 for 1, winning by nine wickets. Ingram finished on 70 not out having overtaken Jacques Rudolph and left him stranded four short of a fifty. Together with his excellent bowling, his batting amply justified the Man of the Match award. It had been a one-sided contest, but in a way that I found entirely satisfactory. Well played Glamorgan, and commiserations to the Leicestershire fans who played their part in creating a great atmosphere at Sophia Gardens.

So there we are. For the first time since 2004, Glamorgan have qualified for the semi-finals of the Twenty20 competition, where they join Hampshire (who thrashed Derbyshire on Tuesday night); the two remaining quarter-finals are played tonight and tomorrow. Both semi-finals and the final are played on Saturday September 2nd at Edgbaston. David Miller, who had flown back for this match having played in South Africa the day before, was scheduled to bat at No. 4 last night but wasn’t needed. He may well get a game on Finals Day!

UPDATE: Here’s a short video of the highlights of the match! De Lange’s brilliant yorker is about 19s in…