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The Electronic Telegraph Warm-up Match: Surrey v West Indies
Martin Johnson - 12 May 1999

West Indies in the land of nod

West Indies (224-6) bt Surrey (169-8) by 88 runs (D/L method)

The West Indies are the nearest thing to a sleeping giant in this World Cup, albeit only because one or two of their bigger names have yet to climb out of the hammock. If they fail to make an impact on this competition, it certainly won't be because they've overdone the preparation.

Brian Lara has so far been seen in action only by owners of his Sony PlayStation computer game, (39.99 at all leading electronic stores), Courtney Walsh is another key player who has yet to take the field, and when Curtly Ambrose made his only warm-up appearance at the Oval yesterday, he was in danger of having to withdraw from the tournament because of exhaustion after his first over - which took about 10 minutes to bowl and contained five wides.

The West Indies do, however, look in pretty good overall nick and clearly possess one of the World Cup players to watch in Ricardo Powell. The 20-year-old Jamaican is a straight replacement for the retired Carl Hooper, though it is not completely like for like in that Powell has yet to acquire Hooper's penchant for nodding off midway through an innings.

Powell, who also adds off-spin and electrifying fielding, yesterday thrashed the Surrey attack for 53 runs off only 22 balls, including four fours and three sixes. Furthermore, there was not the merest hint of a slog.

Once again, this was a match visited by rain and the Duckworth-Lewis system, a formula which ought to qualify for a university degree course and which makes it doubly sad Mastermind is no longer on television. After two minutes on the Duckworth-Lewis, you could just imagine Magnus addressing a jibbering wreck of a contestant: ``Mr Pythagoras, you passed on 23 . . .''

After the West Indies had posted a 40-over total of 224 for six from 40 overs, the press box scorer, having earlier announced that the Duckworth-Lewis was not half as complicated as it appeared, declared that Surrey would have to make 246 from their own 40.

The official scorers, however, made it 258 from 40, which remained the case notwithstanding the fact that Middlesex and Sussex set a precedent last summer, in which the original figure was revised with seven overs still to play. Sometimes, it's hard to tell your Duckworth from your Lewis, though Surrey obviated the need for argument by falling short on both calculations.

Lara's input was confined to occasional appearances to supply batsmen with gloves and drinks, and some laudable PR on the boundary. Judging by the number of autographs he signed with his injured wrist, the only thing that will keep him out of the opening game against Pakistan on Sunday is an attack of writers' cramp.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk