Surrey achieved promotion with a comprehensive win over Derbyshire last week, with the opportunity to win Division Two mostly in their hands. The London county have had a strong two months and will come into this semi-final with plenty of expectation as they look to continue that good form and secure a place in the final.
Having lost just one game in this year’s competition, Surrey have proven themselves to be quite a force to be reckoned with, particularly in the bowling department. They boast a strong, yet young, line-up that features James Burke and the Curran brothers, who have 44 wickets between them, with Jade Dernbach’s experience adds to the line-up while Zafar Ansari and captain Gareth Batty offer excellent options with pace off the ball. Surrey’s totals batting first, which they have done in every game, haven’t been anything spectacular – though they have two of the five leading runs scorers – but their bowlers have delivered when needed, and they’ll need to deliver again on Monday.
Surrey’s quarter-final victory over Kent was overshadowed by Matt Coles’ sublime effort that almost took his side over the line. The home side’s inability to finish off the tail coupled with a middle order collapse that saw eight wickets fall for just 81 runs will be a huge concern coming into this game, and they’ll want to avoid another potential disaster.
Nottinghamshire haven’t played a match since their convincing quarter-final victory over Durham and so will come into this match feeling refreshed. With the County Championship virtually in Yorkshire’s hands, the Outlaws’ only hope for silverware is this tournament. It won’t be easy, however, as they are without their leading run-scorers Alex Hales and James Taylor, both of whom are with the England squad.
In their absence, the likes of opener Riki Wessels, Dan Christian, Samit Patel and the returning Michael Lumb will need to provide strong contributions with the bat. With Stuart Broad set to feature for the first time in this competition, Nottinghamshire’s bowling line-up immediately strengthens and one would expect Broad to play a big part if the visitors are to reach Lord’s.
Zafar Ansari has had an excellent season in all forms, and he’s been a handy player in their fifty over campaign. Batting at six, he is able to build on the strong top order partnerships that his side excel in, and given Surrey’s propensity to collapse after their big partnership breaks, he will have a big role to play if the host are to set a competitive total. In addition, Ansari’s nine wickets have been useful as Surrey are given a second spin option, and on an Oval pitch that typically offers turn, he could be quite a threat for the Outlaws.
With a huge role to play with both bat and ball, Samit Patel will be one of the Outlaws’ main threats. He has 233 runs to his name this campaign along with 13 wickets and Surrey will be wary of what he can do, particularly on a turning pitch. With an economy rate of five, Patel doesn’t just take wickets but offers control and will be key in preventing the hosts’ middle order from accelerating, while his threat with the bat shouldn’t be understated by Surrey, and the visitors will be hoping for him to bolster the middle order and help his team score big.
Surrey are without Jason Roy while Nottinghamshire are missing the aforementioned Hales and Taylor, all due to England duty. The home side have Gary Wilson returning to the squad having missed the quarter-final through international duty, while the visitors have included Stuart Broad and Michael Lumb, who returns from a thumb injury, in their squad while Chris Read will lead the team in Taylor’s absence.
Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (c), Gary Wilson (wk), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Steven Davies, Jade Dernbach, Matthew Dunn, Ben Foakes, Aneesh Kapil, Kumar Sangakkara
Nottinghamshire squad: Chris Read (c, wk), Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Dan Christian, Harry Gurney, Brett Hutton, Jake Libby, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels, Luke Wood, Sam Wood
Weather and conditions
Cloud cover is expected to accompany the match throughout the course of the day, though it will likely remain dry with mild temperatures of around 17 degrees.
Date: 7th September 2015
Ground: The Kia Oval
Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 11/10, Nottinghamshire 8/11