T20: Warwickshire 139-6 beat Gloucestershire 135-7 by four wickets
Gloucestershire slumped to a fifth Twenty20 defeat at Edgbaston, and with it their chances of getting out the group all but disappeared.
The disastrous dismissal (again) of Hamish Marshall as he was run out by the bowler having played the ball back up the pitch, set the tone in a scrappy innings where the Shire could only post 135, and despite chipping away at the Warwickshire batsman, the target was never going to be demanding enough. So what has gone wrong once again in the 20-over format?
Well clearly the loss of James Franklin as been a key factor. The loss of the all-rounder has created a serious imbalance in the side. Franklin had been performing steadily with the ball, but crucially had found some form with the bat; innings in several Friends Provident games saw Franklin begin to justify his recruitment. But his replacement in the side has gone to a genuine bowler, that has left Glos with a horrifically long tail.
Admittedly, I favoured the decision to play just five batsman - all players of quality, and players that should be backed. However, one-day cricket often works best with plenty of bits-and-pieces cricketers: the Paul Collingwood's and Dimi Mascarenas' of this world. So perhaps Rob Woodman or David Brown warranted inclusion as a like-for-like replacement for Franklin?
Granted, the side have not batted well at all, but surely bolstering the batting would be no more a shot for the confidence of the top order, but a sensible insurance policy to avoid what has been described as "an end being opened": the removal of enough recognised batsman to bring in the lesser players to place more pressure on the player at the other end - a trick that has brought the downfall of the Shire so far in this competition.
Unless runs are on the board, a team has no chance of victory - so a gamble on small numbers to get those runs cannot continue. Albeit unlucky with Franklin and Will Porterfield's international duty, players that are genuinely recognised to bat have to be introduced because not enough runs are being scored.
All-rounders are capable of producing cricket that can work in one-day cricket, so why not get both Woodman and Brown in the side, in place of the one-dimensional cricketers that have not been doing their jobs and have seen the Shire slump out of the Twenty20 cup.