Wasim signs off with another record

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The Independent Online
Surrey 189-9; Lancashire 190-4 Lancashire win by 6 wickets

Wasim Akram left Lancashire on a record note and on a Sunday League high, the three wickets he claimed in the Surrey innings taking him past Ian Austin's mark of 28 in a season and the victory - their 11th in the 40-over competition this summer - keeping them on target for their fourth title.

Pakistan have recalled the 29-year-old Wasim for the series against Sri Lanka starting this week, but Lancashire, having beaten Surrey already in the Championship match without him, look capable of surviving his departure.

Jason Gallian maintained his run of form at The Oval with a fine half- century that took his tally of runs in the two games past the 200 mark. He did nothing fancy, although he was dropped on seven when the off-spinner Andy Smith missed a low return catch. Smith got his revenge, too late, sadly, when his direct hit from cover ran out the England batsman. By then though, Lancashire were well on the way to victory with 15 balls to spare.

They shrugged off the early loss of Mike Atherton, and Gallian and yet another England batsman John Crawley picked off 76 runs between them for the second wicket. Crawley smacked a long straight six during his 47-ball innings, the ball travelling high towards the home dressing room.

Gallian was always more circumspect. His near two-hour stay was punctuated with just seven fours in his 94 balls. Neil Fairbrother was another victim of Surrey's accurate throwing in the field, when Nadeem Shahid ran him out by yards. But after Gallian's departure, Graham Lloyd and Wasim made sure of victory.

Wasim had been used well as a bowler by his captain, Mike Watkinson, coming on to nip out any Surrey troublemaker, starting with Shahid in his second over. But the wicket that had everyone gasping was that of Smith, who had just creamed Watkinson for 20 in an over, including two sixes, when he received an Exocet of a delivery.

It was launched in the direction of his feet and the batsman, realising that a broken stump was preferable to a broken bone, showed a good deal of nimbleness and a touch of Jonathan Edwards as he hopped, skipped and jumped to leave an obligingly undefended middle wicket for Wasim's yorker.

Smith had the grace to grin as he departed, having blasted 34 in 24 balls. There was an intermission for a couple of overs before Wasim returned to centre stage to account for Neil Sargeant, caught and bowled off a slower ball, and the record was his.

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