Half centuries by Jacques Rudolph and David Miller plus a disciplined bowling performance saw Glamorgan maintain their quest of a quarter-final place by defeating Gloucestershire by 25 runs in their televised NatWest T20 Blast contest at Bristol with the win taking the Welsh county to the top of the table.
Despite their rain-affected matches at Cardiff on Friday and Sunday, Glamorgan began tonight’s match in third place with Gloucestershire in second spot, and after being invited to bat first it was Jacques Rudolph who opened the batting with Aneurin Donald as David Payne and Matt Tylor shared the new ball. Donald struck the first boundary as he on-drove Payne for four in the opening over, but he departed in the third over as he miscued an expansive legside stroke with Thisara Perera at fine-leg pouching the skier.
Colin Ingram duly replaced him and began with a straight drive back over Payne’s head but next over he had a life as Jack Taylor dropped a straightforward chance on the square-leg boundary off his brother’s bowling. Rudolph quietly worked the ball around for singles as Ingram twice biffed Payne over extra cover for four besides harpooning a massive six over mid-wicket.
But it proved to be an all-too-brief cameo as far as Glamorgan supporters were concerned as Perera entered the attack and saw Ingram miscue a pull back to the Sri Lankan who completed the catch in his follow-through. David Miller joined Rudolph with the total on 39 and began with a trio of singles before bringing up the fifty with a straight six against Jack Taylor.
He celebrated with another straight six next ball before Rudolph deftly leg-glanced Benny Howell to the ropes as Glamorgan reached 73/2 at the halfway mark. Miller greeted the return of Matt Taylor by on-driving him for six followed by a fierce swat for four next ball. Later in the over, Rudolph upper-cut the left-armer for four to third man before bringing up the fifty stand by scything him square of the wicket for a rasping boundary as the over yielded twenty runs.
Miller brought up the hundred by pulling successive balls from Howell in front and behind square-leg before Rudolph lofted the all-rounder over extra-cover for four. Miller then clubbed Kieran Noema-Barnett for four to mid-wicket en route to an impressive half-century from 32 balls, but next ball and with the total on 124, he miscued Payne to backward point where Noema-Barnett held a good catch.
Chris Cooke joined Rudolph who nonchalantly clipped Noema-Barnett for six over square-leg before reaching fifty from 44 balls. But he also departed shortly afterwards as he drilled Perera into the hands of long-off. 141/4 then became 142/5 as Cooke holed out at deep mid-wicket. Craig Meschede then despatched a free hit to the ropes in the same area before Graham Wagg inside-edged a lusty drive against Perera for four followed by a deft cut for four off the Sri Lankan’s final delivery. Howell then bowled the final over from which Meschede and Wagg scrambled ten runs with Meschede clipping the penultimate delivery to the ropes at fine-leg as Glamorgan ended on 176/5.
Michael Klinger and Phil Mustard began the home team’s run-chase as Michael Hogan and Marchant de Lange opened the bowling. After a series of singles, Klinger pulled the first ball of the third over from Hogan for six before drilling him to the boards at mid-off for four. But later in the over, Hogan made the riposte by bowling Mustard as Gloucestershire lkost their first wicket on 19.
Iain Cockbain announced his arrival with an on-drive for three before plonking Wagg over long-off for six and through long-on for four. This was followed by a leg glance for four and a lofted cover drive against Timm van der Gugten as Gloucestershire ended the powerplays on 48/1. But Meschede made the breakthrough shortly afterwards as Cockbain top-edged a pull and Cooke completed the catch.
With 124 needed from 13 overs Ingram’s leg-spin was introduced and he struck with his second ball as George Hankins reverse-swept to van der Gugten at third man. Howell joined Klinger with the boundaries still in short supply as the required rate soared above 10 an over. After a series of frugal deliveries, Klinger drove Meschede straight for six followed by a square-cur for four.
The task had become 91 from 48 balls as van der Gugten returned at the Ashley Down End with Klinger lofting him straight for six before reaching fifty from 33 balls by drilling him over mid-wicket for another maximum. But as in Glamorgan’s innings he failed to go on as next ball he chopped the Dutchman onto his stumps with his side on 99/4.
Jack Taylor joined Howell as the equation became 67 from 30 deliveries and he greeted the return of Wagg by clipping him over fine-leg for six. Taylor then swatted the next delivery to deep square-leg for four but later in the over he holed out at long-off with the total on 122/5. Perera joined Howell but the pair could not find the boundaries they needed with the Sri Lankan perishing in a bold attempt to strike De Lange for six but he only spooned a catch to Rudolph at deep extra-cover.
Wagg’s penultimate over yielded just five runs as the home side entered the last two overs still needing 44, but Hogan was also in a parsimonious mood and after a trio of singles Howell also holed out at long-on. 38 were needed as Noema-Barnett drilled Wagg’s first ball for six before nearly despatching the third for another maximum, but for a deft piece of fielding by Ingram as Gloucestershire ended on 151/7 with the victory taking Glamorgan to the top of the group table.