Cricket: Smith missiles on target

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 274-6 Glamorgan 136 Gloucestershire win by 136 runs

MIKE SMITH was bowling smart left-arm medium paced missiles before the US Airforce invented the term, and the two he produced yesterday to dismiss Jacques Kallis, for 12, and Matthew Maynard for 10, may have historical significance. Gloucestershire are now one match away from two cup finals in one summer.

Three medium-paced seamers and two spinners will not win many four-day championship matches but, in the context of limited overs, when batsmen cannot wait, their accuracy and little variations on length and line strangle the opposition.

Glamorgan made the initial error and never recovered. Both sides pinched two spinners and were then confronted by a green and grassy strip. Maynard must have hesitated because experience suggests that, no matter how bowler friendly the surface looks, the golden rule in the Gardens must be: bat first.

Apart from a few deliveries from the evergreen Steve Watkin, Gloucestershire found the conditions, cool in the morning, very hot later, ideal for batting. Jollied along by some unusually scrappy Glamorgan fielding, Kim Barnett and Tim Hancock the latter in no way overshadowed, took 41 off the first 10 overs, 87 off 20 and 142 off 30 at which point came the first stumble, Barnett failing to chip over short mid-off.

Rob Cunliffe might have gone immediately to a brilliant return near catch to Dean Cosker with only nine but he played across the line. The Gloucester middle did their best to dissipate the advantage, four more wickets falling in 13 overs for 66 runs. Hancock should and could have stayed for a maiden NatWest century, driving recklessly when 90 made off 108 balls. His compensation was the man of the match award.

There was doubt whether Gloucestershire would reach 250 when Jack Russell departed on 228 with 18 balls left, but Matt Windows, with a wiry accomplice in Jeremy Snape, blasted 36 off the last two overs.

A target of 275 meant Glamorgan had to dispense with brakes. Robert Croft, their best bowler and one-day opener, was deceived by a ball held back; Steve James was run out gambling on a second.

Kallis, impatient after his 155 off 44 overs last Sunday, drove hard to be jubilantly caught behind; Maynard, seeing 36 on the board with 17 overs gone, chose the wrong ball to attack.

Smith retired on two for 19 and Mark Alleyne was so much in charge there after he was even able to bowl Barnett. Game, set and match to the Glorious.

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