I have had a few emails and comments overnight regarding the defeat yesterday at Stanley Park.
There was a common theme - and one that I will disagree with - in that Billy Godleman made the wrong decision in entrusting the penultimate over to Hardus Viljoen.
Why wouldn't he? Hardus is an experienced bowler who has carried out the role well many times over his career. In the game against Warwickshire he bowled a nigh-perfect closing over and the hope would have been that he replicated that. He has done similarly many times in South Africa and doubtless will many times for us in the future. Brought over as our strike bowler, he has earned that reputation for a reason.
Yet sometimes it goes wrong, for him and for all bowlers. The margin between a ball that is hit and one that isn't is small and you have to second guess what the batsman is planning. You get it wrong, and he goes back in his crease to one that you bowl short of a length, it travels. Or he may come down the track, or back away outside leg, go the other way to scoop, or simply edge it.
You get the picture. It isn't as simple as 'he bowled badly' on occasion and you have to credit the batsman when it happens. Look at Ben Stokes in the Kolkata T20 World Cup Final, when the sixes were raining from Carlos Brathwaite's bat and he conceded 24 from the over. Did it make Stokes a bad player? Of course not. He is a far superior cricketer to Brathwaite and has bestrode this year's IPL like a colossus, but on that night he got his lengths wrong and the West Indian kept hitting through the line to great effect.
If they repeated that final over a hundred times, my money would be on Stokes in at least 95 of them, probably more, because he is s stellar cricketer.
It is especially an issue for fast bowlers and for Hardus Viljoen read Mark Footitt, or Devon Malcolm. They get it right, when body and mind are in synch and they are lethal. Get it wrong, at that pace, it flies away, anywhere and everywhere.
The only other option for Billy Godleman yesterday was Matt Critchley, but the critics would have had a field day had a young leggie been given the ball and been hit. He could have thrown the ball to Alex Hughes or Luis Reece, but neither had bowled in the innings and being then given the penultimate over is a tough gig. Let's be honest, we are all wise after the event.
No, Billy called it right but it didn't work yesterday. By the same token, it doesn't make Hardus a bad bowler by a long chalk.
Finally today, the wicket-keeping of Daryn Smit will have given food for thought when the T20 starts. A leg side stumping from a wide by Jeevan Mendis yesterday was further proof of his credentials and he has yet to concede a bye in the games in which he has kept. The decision between Smit and Gary Wilson for the short form of the game will be interesting and just one of many decisions that John Wright will need to make when he gets over.
Mind you, he has a gem in Shiv Thakor. What a player the young all rounder is and to bowl such a spell on a small ground when the batsmen are going for it reinforced his growing reputation, as did his earlier clean hitting. When this reviled new competition gets up and running he will be a very sound 'pick' for one of the sides.
The signs are we are much improved and good displays against Leicestershire and Worcestershire in the coming days can reinforce that opinion.
More from me soon.