FPT: Surrey 306-6 beat Gloucestershire 142 by 164 runs
Alex Gidman's decision to bowl first at the Oval must surely be singled out as the reason for Gloucestershire's first one-day defeat of the season.
After taking the plaudits for the Shire's wonderful start to the season, Gidman must take full responsibility for a major error of judgement that cost Glos this match. Surrey were able to rack up 306-6, forcing the visitors to chase the game. The pressure told and a total of just 142 was total humiliation from the team billed as the pace-setters in this year's competition.
It doesn't matter how wet the outfield was, or how much cloud their was in the sky, or whether rain was forecast for later, no factor could detract away from the wonderfully flat and hard Oval wicket that is a dream to bat on. The only choice was to get first use of it and Gidman turned it down.
What went through the man's head? Forgetting for a second that the method by which Gloucestershire have historically won one-day matches is by setting a good target and then applying the "squeeze", there was another man who had a brainwave about bowling first on a great batting track - a certain Nasser Hussain. Perhaps Gidman assumed lightening wouldn't strike twice? Perhaps he was arrogant enough to assume his bowlers would fire the opposition out, even on a road?
Whatever his reasoning, out to bowl the Shire went, and they could only stand and admire at Mark Ramprakash giggling his way to 121 - such was his bemusement at being given the chance to bat first on his home ground.
In the face of such adversity, Gidman managed to play the worst shot of the day - offering up a simple catch when only on 3, albeit the game was up by then as the top order buckled under the pressure of the six-an-over target.
A way back into the game had been offered by Will Porterfield (42) and Chris Taylor (25) but the first of two run-outs scuppered the glimmer of light as Glos flopped to a hideously embarrassing defeat - one which I am absolutely sure would have been avoided, were it not for Gidman's blunder.