ONE can only imagine that Matthew Maynard's chances of playing for England will increase with the arrival of a new captain. For 102 minutes against Worcestershire in this NatWest Trophy quarter-final yesterday he charmed the ball around St Helen's, reaching 84 off 65 balls in a way which I doubt any other contemporary England batmsan could imitate except, of course, David Gower.
Rain prevented any play before 2.15 and Glamorgan, who were put in, then made an excellent start. Later, they were in slight danger of losing their way, but Maynard's genius took them to an extremely strong, if not quite impregnable, position.
There was then time for Glamorgan to bowl 23 overs and an inspired spell by Roland Lefebvre, whose eight overs cost four runs and brought him Tim Curtis's wicket, made Worcestershire's task seem even greater.
Conditions were far from ideal for such an important match. Many captains would have put the opposition in, although what luck that was going went against Worcestershire.
Hugh Morris and Steve James made exactly the sort of start Glamorgan have come to expect. Bad balls got their deserts. Morris was strong off his legs and James was forever opening the face and running the ball to third man. They had put on 66 in 18 overs before Stuart Lampitt found the edge of Morris's bat.
Adrian Dale is in a rich vein and produced some good strokes and some lucky ones, too, including two inside edges for four past leg stump. He put on 84 with James before driving too soon at Newport.
It was 175 for 3 when James drove Newport to extra cover and if deep square leg had been back on the boundary, Viv Richards would have fallen there almost at once. Soon, though, he drove inside Neil Radford and was bowled. By then, Maynard might have been caught at midwicket off Newport when 10 and this was the decisive moment.
Tony Cottey and Colin Metson were out first ball and the rest of the innings centred on Maynard. In the closing overs, his improvisations were a joy.
Yet, if Graeme Hick can produce something comparable, Worcestershire might still win.
More NatWest reports,
Scoreboard, page 30Reuse content