It wasn’t what anyone would call a perfect day’s cricket: the sun didn’t appear at all, it was chilly, the runs were sparse and for a significant portion of the match the result was hardly in question. Nevertheless, Warwickshire deserve to pat themselves on the back for an excellent all-round performance that saw them win the 2016 Royal London One-day Cup.
To begin with, it all went Surrey’s way. Gareth Batty won the toss and opted to bat first. His side got off to a strong start, reaching 45 before the first wicket fell, but it was here that the wheels started to come off the wagon.
An all-round Warwickshire bowling attack banded together to choke the usually fluid Kumar Sangakkara and Steven Davies, neither of whom were able to get out of the 20s. The Birmingham side, with the spoils shared evenly between the bowlers and punctuated by excellent fielding, then proceeded to cause the London side to crumble to a paltry total of 136.
Speaking afterwards, Captain Ian Bell said: “It was all round.”
He added: “I don’t think it was necessarily Surrey playing really badly, although they might be harsh on themselves, I just thought we were outstanding with the ball after the first 10 overs.
“After that catch and the stumping, our bowling was high class. We peaked at the right time.”
“With the players they have, you know you have to hold your nerve,” Bell added, “They’re going to hit some good shots and hit decent balls for four, as Roy did, but we did hold our nerve.”
Jonathan Trott added: “Roy and Davies got away pretty well and we knew the wicket would slow a bit.
“We’d have liked to have won the toss and batted, but it worked out well because of the way we bowled in the first half of the day.”
You could argue that the game was all but won before the Warwickshire batters even donned the willow, but that would do Trott an injustice. Not content to just contribute to a simple chase, the veteran batter took a hold of the innings and made it all his own.
“If there’s one bloke in world cricket who I would want to knock off a small total – or a total where you can pace yourself – it is Jonathan Trott.” Bell said.
For Trott, it was an important achievement: “It’s nice to finish a season well,” he said, “Getting to the end of your career, you want to put in performances and have memories.
“It’s my fourth final, but the first time I’ve got above 15 or 20.”
Well supported by Bell though he was, Trott made more than half of the chase on his own in a cool performance that saw him awarded man of the match. In truth, though, Trott’s batting was just the icing on the cake for Warwickshire, who displayed excellence with the ball and in the field.
With only one or two exceptions, every player in the Warwickshire side contributed today. They weren’t alone, however. Bell was keen to applaud the support that came down from the Midlands as well.
“I can’t remember a Warwickshire support like we had today,” he said with a lot of pride, “We must have had some frustrated supporters this year, but it was unbelievable.
“It felt like a home game. The support was outstanding. I hope there were some young kids in the crowd who will be here one day, too.
“Hopefully there are some kids going home tonight who are desperate to be Warwickshire players in the future, just like I was.”
Unlike last year’s final, where Surrey performed well but lost the game in the final few overs, this year they barely showed up. It was a disappointing day for captain, Batty.
“Sometimes it can be straightforward, a bit more bat and ball, but it doesn’t feel like that right now,” he said, “We will get better and will be working our socks off to make sure that happens.
“This group of players know they can be together for a very long time and they should be thinking that this is just the start of opportunities to be on the better end of a result on a day like today.”
A true gentleman to the end, Batty was adamant that in the face of almost certain defeat it was important for his team to hold their heads high.
“I wanted the boys to go about their disciplines properly and be men.
“Sometimes, you can lose with dignity. I hope we lose with dignity and we allow Warwickshire to enjoy what was a very fine performance. Hopefully we become better people and men because of that.”
Warwickshire will, no doubt, enjoy what was a fine performance as they go into their final game of the season against Lancashire. Whatever happens, they have silverware in the cabinet and they’ll be content with that.