Cricket
THE MATT MASON COLUMN

By The Worcestershire 09/05 Updated: 12/05 21:50

Buy photos » Vikram Solanki top scored for Worcestershire against the Dutch. Picture by George Thorne.

IT WAS a team decision to forfeit our first innings against Middlesex to try and press for a victory and I don't think it's a decision we regret.

Taking the chance to try and secure a lot more points by forcing a win rather than sitting there at Lord's and playing out a meaningless draw, seemed like a reasonable gamble.

We haven't got a lot of points this year and we haven't managed one single batting point yet, so the decision was to back ourselves to chase down that target.

If we had batted 80 odd overs like they set us we would have got somewhere close but the bottom line is we just didn't bat well again.

Our batsmen are simply not finding a way of combating some very good bowling in helpful conditions and to not have a batting point after four games is a terrible start to be honest.

It's something the guys have talked about at length but there is only so much talking you can do.

They are professional cricketers and they need to find a way of combating what are very good bowling attacks.

The fact is you don't get poor attacks in Division One but the best players around should be able to cope and they are not doing that.

The defeat to the Netherlands in the CB40 on Monday was disappointing but no one could really blame one particular thing for the loss.

We were a little bit unlucky with the weather because our batsmen said when we were batting it was not an easy pitch to score on initially. It was very slow and we felt as long as we got a reasonably full game in we might have done OK.

But what made it difficult was playing through the drizzle so the ball actually skidded on a bit better and made batting a little bit easier second time around.

Of course with the revised targets, wickets in hand and small boundaries the Netherlands had a couple of real good hitters in who to be fair to them played very well and we just couldn't defend that target.

They batted with a real freedom and even if they got just half a bat on the ball it seemed to find the gap and go for four or six. We couldn't have fielders in enough places and the key for them was having the wickets in hand.

We face Surrey this week in the LV= County Championship and I think their side will be a little bit weaker than the one we faced a few weeks back at the Oval, with the obvious exception of Kevin Pietersen.

They are going to have lost two or three players including Stuart Meaker and Jade Dernbach because of the England Lions game but having said that their back up squad has good depth to it so whoever they bring in will make it a tough game.

Our confidence with the bat is a bit dented at the moment but we have had some good results against Surrey in recent times and the match at the Oval was probably our best opportunity to win a game, before the weather intervened.

I know fast bowler Richard Jones is really looking forward to bowling at Pietersen because he's one of the world's best batsmen and it's a wonderful opportunity to secure a great scalp in your wickets column.

Facing someone like KP also serves as a great indicator as to where you are as a bowler and you want to test yourself to see whether you can hold your own against him.

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