Murtagh strikes to give Surrey last laugh

Surrey 149-8 - Warwickshire 117-8 Match tied; Surrey win bowl-out
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The Independent Online

After rain had robbed the tie of five overs at the start of the Warwickshire reply, it was announced that the revised target was 118 runs off 15 overs.

Before the ball that took Warwickshire's total to 117 had been bowled, the Surrey captain, Mark Ramprakash, had been led to believe - after a lengthy discussion with the umpires - that two runs would leave his team as the winners. He set his field accordingly and allowed Dewald Pretorius just two runs.

Then the confusion arose. After studying the regulations it was ascertained that one run less than the Duckworth-Lewis target constituted a tie. So, after some 10 minutes of deliberation and with the crowd becoming increasingly impatient, it was announced that the match would be settled by a bowl-out, with five bowlers from each side.

But in the fading light and under a gibbous moon, it emerged that Surrey, initially, were refusing to take part in the bowl-out. That was sorted out and the tie-break went ahead at 9.0pm some half an hour after the last ball had been bowled.

The bowl-out certainly added to the drama, with Tim Murtagh hitting the stumps for the second time to settle the issue in the sudden-death phase and steer Surrey, inaugural winners in 2003 and finalists last year, into the semi-finals at the same venue later this month.

But the whole chaotic climax left the England and Wales Cricket Board in a poor light, when its match officials were themselves unsure of what to do when the game was tied. And it overshadowed some fine performances on both sides.

It was appropriate that Murtagh should have had that last decisive moment because he and his brother Chris - on as a substitute for the injured Scott Newman - had staged their version of a Bros concert in overcast South London.

Chris took a catch and ran out the Warwickshire captain, Nick Knight, and generally played a blinder in the field.

His older brother, Tim, also took a catch, then the wicket of the danger man Dougie Brown, which went a long way to redeeming him in the eyes of Ramprakash, who had been distinctly miffed when Murtagh had allowed himself to be stumped in the penultimate over of the Surrey innings with runs badly needed.

Warwickshire's response had not been helped by the loss of a wicket to the first ball of their innings, Azhar Mahmood getting the ball to rear up at Neil Carter, who fended it off to Alistair Brown at second slip.

l Lancashire reached finals day as they bowled Derbyshire out for 172 in the 20th over at Old Trafford last night. They scored 189 for 7 with Mal Loye hitting a ferocious 73 off 32 balls andthe Australian Andrew Symonds adding 57 not out.

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