Gloucestershire romp to Cheltenham triumph
Gloucestershire Gladiators came good at the conclusion of the Cheltenham Festival, thrashing Glamorgan by 10 wickets and keep alive their slender hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Friends Life t20.
Beaten by Midlands/Wales/West Group rivals Warwickshire Bears and Northants Steelbacks at the College Ground last week, bottom-of-the-table Gloucestershire produced a much-improved performance to make amends in front of a 5,000 sell-out crowd.
Glamorgan elected to bat but never recovered from the loss of early wickets as they were restricted to a wholly inadequate 98 for nine, only three batsmen reaching double figures in an innings that yielded just four boundaries.
Returning to action following a seven-week injury lay-off, slow left-armer Ed Young posted figures of 3-21 from four overs and was ably backed up by David Payne, who deployed clever variation with the new ball and at the death to claim 3-17.
Gloucestershire openers Michael Klinger and Chris Dent made quick work of chasing down 99, reaching their target with 7.1 overs to spare.
Dent was the chief aggressor, his 43-ball 63 containing eight fours and two sixes.
A third Glamorgan loss in succession was all but confirmed inside six overs as Glamorgan lurched to 31 for five on a pitch offering assistance to spinners.
Slow left-armer Tom Smith struck in the very first over to set the tone, Jim Allenby driving high to Dan Christian at cover, and Mark Wallace departed six balls later, taking one liberty too many against Payne's left-arm seam and holing out to mid-on.
Making his first appearance since the end of May after recovering from a broken wrist, Young announced himself with the wicket of Chris Cooke, who chipped straight to extra-cover in the fourth over.
Veteran campaigner Murray Goodwin also departed to a poor shot, leaning back and cutting a length ball from Christian to backward point, while New Zealand all-rounder Nathan McCullum sent a leading edge back to Payne in the act of playing to leg.
Marcus North and Nick James halted the procession when adding 37 in eight overs, but the former’s attempt to up the ante saw him reverse-sweep Young straight to Alex Gidman at short third man.
Young struck again in his next over from the College Lawn end, luring Graeme Wagg into front-foot indiscretion, and there were two further breakthroughs for Gloucestershire in the final over, Payne bowling James for 27 prior to Michael Hogan being run out.
Promoted to open the batting for the first time in t20, Bristolian Dent continued his rich vein of form at the festival.
Demonstrating a better understanding of the conditions than their opponents, the home openers accrued 11 fours and three sixes between them to put Glamorgan's innings in perspective.
Glamorgan's bowlers must be sick of the sight of Dent, who scored a superb match-winning 150 in a Yorkshire Bank 40 fixture in Cardiff earlier this summer.
On this occasion, he raised 50 from 37 balls before going on to equal his previous highest Twenty20 score. Klinger finished unbeaten on 35 from 34 balls with three fours and a six.