Hollioake overshadowsHandy Andys to lift Surrey

Surrey 145-7 Worcestershire 131-8 Surrey win by 14 runs
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The Independent Online

Superman had X-ray vision, Surrey are content that Adam Hollioake is blessed with the Twenty20 variety. Once more the Surrey all-rounder came to the rescue of the defending champions and helped to steer them into the semi-finals of the Twenty20 Cup last night after an unlikely victory over Worcestershire.

Superman had X-ray vision, Surrey are content that Adam Hollioake is blessed with the Twenty20 variety. Once more the Surrey all-rounder came to the rescue of the defending champions and helped to steer them into the semi-finals of the Twenty20 Cup last night after an unlikely victory over Worcestershire.

It went to the wire, but vital wickets, critical dot balls and crucial runs from Hollioake underlined why he has been the outstanding all-rounder of this season's tournament.

He had entered this match, Surrey's 13th since the inaugural match last year, during which they have remained unbeaten, with 14 wickets to his name and last night, at a frenzied Oval, he added a further three victims to his tally. That he is so successful with the ball should come as no surprise since last season he had claimed 16 wickets by the time Surrey lifted the Cup.

He was given superb support by Jimmy Ormond, whose four overs yielded a miserly 14 runs and contained two wickets, and Nayan Doshi, son of former Indian Test star Dilip, whose left-arm spin earned a return of 1 for 19.

Surrey had been further handicapped by the loss of Rikki Clarke, who aggravated a back injury after bowling three overs. But although their own total looked inadequate still they proved invincible, outstrangling their opponents in the end.

The Handy Andys - Bichel and Hall - who mustered 29 runs between them to keep Worcestershire hopes up in the latter stages of their innings, had earlier kept a tight rein on Surrey's big shots.

Aided by a certain amount of movement in the air and off the pitch, they managed to frustrate the likes of Alistair Brown, Scott Newman and Mark Ramprakash with their own economy lines and awkward lengths.

The batsmen's judgment appeared as clouded as the evening skies and led to injudicious shots and early departures. The writing looked to be on the scoreboard after 10 overs, when just 50 runs had been gleaned at a cost of five wickets - the last two of which had come in an over bowled by Nadeem Malik. First, Tim Murtagh fell in the deep, one of two catches for Bichel down at long on, then, next ball, Rikki Clarke drove straight to David Leatherdale in the covers.

Earlier, the pride of the Surrey Lions had perished to similar extravagant strokes, Brown's glance being snapped up at short fine leg by Stephen Moore, Newman taken by Vikram Solanki at slip and the chief run-getter Ramprakash the first of Leatherdale's two catches.

So yet again the responsibility for trying to pull the defending champions back on track fell on the powerful shoulders of Hollioake. He did not disappoint, launching a 29-ball assault on the Worcestershire attack which saw him loft three huge sixes, the longest and straightest of which struck the upper balcony of the Bedser Stand, fully 110 yards from the Vauxhall End crease.

Hollioake and his captain, Jon Batty, who also cracked a couple of sixes, garnered an invaluable 40 runs in their four overs together, and, while last night's 145 for 7 was Surrey's lowest total of the season, it was enough to lift them ever higher in the annals of this competition.

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