Debut defeat for Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen’s Surrey debut attracted a crowd of almost 8,000 to the Brit Insurance Oval, but his comeback to domestic cricket ended in a comprehensive 90-run Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat at the hands of Worcestershire.
Pietersen, looking to find form after being dropped for England’s forthcoming NatWest Twenty20 and ODI series against Pakistan, scored 38 and conceded a couple of sixes in his only over as Surrey crashed to their fourth defeat in 11 Group A matches.
Chasing 377 at an asking rate of 9.43 an over to pull off the third biggest run-chase in the competition's history, the Lions managed 286 despite an immediate let-off for skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown.
Working a Jack Shantry leg-cutter towards square-leg, Hamilton-Brown skied to cover, where Chris Russell ran back to spill a regulation chance.
Fellow opener Steven Davies, recalled to the England limited-overs squad yesterday, came into the game with a competition average of 62, but was bowled for 12 attempting to drive a full delivery from left-armer Shantry.
Second-wicket partners Hamilton-Brown and Pietersen raised Surrey’s hundred in the ninth over, the former having scorched to a 23-ball fifty.
Pietersen, who got off the mark with a miscued single to mid-on from a leading edge, appeared to be getting into his stride when he swept an imperious four against Shaaiq Choudhry.
On 25, he again swept hard at Moeen Ali, but wicketkeeper Ben Cox spilled a tricky leg-side chance after the ball brushed off Pietersen's glove.
Hamilton-Brown’s luck ran out when he chipped a length ball from Choudhry to long-on to end a stand with Pietersen worth 79 off 50 balls.
Pietersen followed two overs later for 38 from 33 balls. Advancing down the pitch and aiming to on-drive, he struck a firm return chance that Choudhry gleefully accepted en route to figures of 4-54.
Having been dropped twice early on, Stewart Walters went lbw trying to work Moeen across the line, and, when Mark Ramprakash was run out chasing a second to James Cameron at deep square-leg, Surrey’s hopes disappeared.
The home innings unravelled thereafter, ensuring Surrey will miss out on the semi-finals.
Positioned at long-on and long-off for much of the Worcestershire innings, Pietersen could only watch in awe as Vikram Solanki and Gareth Andrew smashed centuries to steer the Royals to their highest score in the competition.
Having featured in an opening stand worth 61 with Moeen, who made 41, the wristy Solanki hogged centre stage to post his 12th domestic one-day hundred from 68 balls, with 78 coming in boundaries.
He and Andrew, who used his long-handled Mongoose bat to great effect, added a remarkable 185 for the fourth wicket inside 18.2 overs as the Surrey bowlers were put to the sword.
Solanki eventually went for 129, dragging a Jade Dernbach, who was the pick of a beleaguered attack with 3-64, yorker on to off stump.
Left-handed Andrew, who clubbed the first of his six sixes off Pietersen, went on to reach a maiden List A hundred from 58 deliveries only to hole out at deep midwicket two balls later.