A fine all-round display by Surrey brought them a comprehensive victory over Worcestershire. Gareth Batty, returning to his old club, spun his way to figures of 5-40 to destroy the home side’s batting.
Surrey’s total of 363-7 was built around innings of 92 from Jason Roy, 86 from Ben Foakes and 73 from Kumar Sangakkara.
After the game, Worcestershire captain Joe Leach made no excuses. “We just got beat,” he admitted. He did accept that, not having played a 50 over game for a month, the team may have fallen short in their bowling skills.
Surrey have lost the last two Royal London finals so Man of the Match Gareth Batty was understandably jubilant at having a third attempt.
“It was a wonderful team performance in the field,” he said. “It’s great to be going to Lord’s again. Hopefully, we’ll get a different result this time.”
Worcestershire never looked likely to get to grips with their task of scoring 364 to win. They lost Daryl Mitchell early and though Moeen Ali briefly blazed away for 36, he was involved in a bizarre run out when Tom Fell almost ran three runs to Moeen’s one.
Brett D’Oliveira followed a good spell of bowling with a hard-hit innings of53. But by the time he became Gareth Batty’s third victim, six wickets were already down for 115. John Hastings had a nightmare game, conceding 97 runs from his ten overs and falling to Batty for three. Joe Clarke and Ben Cox flickered briefly but both fell to Batty in his nine overs of crafty off-spin.
Ross Whiteley offered solitary resistance before he was last man out for 55. He hit three fours and four sixes, including two towering blows off Tom Curran and a pull off Ravi Rampaul that was expertly caught by one of the ground staff.
It was an efficient, disciplined display in the field by Surrey who always looked to have the task well in hand.
At the start of the day, Gareth Batty won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch described by experts in the science of pitch preparation as “a belter”. With the sun shining, conditions were perfect for batting.
Surrey left out Scott Borthwick, their second spin bowler. Worcestershire welcomed back Moeen Ali and Hastings from Champions Trophy duty.
Jason Roy soon banished his England blues by getting Surrey off to a flying start. 32 came off the first three overs with Hastings coming in for some especially rough treatment. A leg-side pick up by Roy off Hastings went for six.
Worcestershire captain Joe Leach conceded four early boundaries to Roy; and Mark Stoneman joined in with powerful drives off Hastings as well as a lucky edge to the third man boundary.
Roy reached his fifty off just 37 balls and the Surrey hundred came up in the 13th over with Roy reverse sweeping Daryl Mitchell for consecutive boundaries.
The introduction of Moeen Ali into the attack posed more questions as he varied his flight skilfully. Mark Stoneman was tempted into a swing to leg off Ali and was bowled for 41.
By now it was becoming clear that the fast onto the bat meant fast off it. So Mitchell with his fiddly slow medium and the spinners Ali and Brett D’Oliveira took over most of the middle stages of the Surrey innings and steadied things down.
Jason Roy was less comfortable against the slower stuff but kept on giving the bowling a bottom-handed bash whilst, at the other end, Kumar Sangakkara was all silky elegance.
When Ed Barnard came on, he conceded 17 runs in what proved to be his only over, Sangakkara hitting drives either side of the wicket for four and six and Roy pulling a four. The pair had added 65 when Roy on 92 played across a straight ball from Mitchell and was lbw.
Rory Burns didn’t last long, bowled by a googly from Brett D’Oliveira for 5.
Worcestershire now had to deal with Sangakkara and Ben Foakes, both of whom were averaging over 100 in the competition so far. Indeed, shortly after he reached his fifty off 55 balls, Sangakkara’s average for his last three innings topped 300. He pulled Mitchell for six and then survived a stumping review off Ali.
The return of the hapless Hastings looked likely to offer more easy runs, Sangakkara hitting a tennis smash past mid-off and then gently tipping the ball to the third man boundary. In the same over, however, the Sri Lankan got a faint leg-side edge and was well caught by Ben Cox for 73. His tournament average dropped to a puny 84 and he looked distraught not to have scored hundred number 101.
Moeen Ali continued to bowl well and was unlucky when Ollie Pope was dropped in the Press Box off a big on-drive.
Pope and Foakes showed the best of young English batsmanship in a brief stand of 51, before Pope skied Joe Leach who ushered everyone else away to claim the catch.
Ben Foakes looked to have a chance of his first list A hundred, but lost the strike. In the last over he was out to a magnificent direct hit from deep square leg by Ross Whitely, aided by Ben Cox’s intelligent decision not to get his gloves in the way. Foakes scored 86 off just 70 balls with eight fours and two sixes.
Sam Curran had earlier played a falling-over sweep, as made famous by the great Rohan Kanhai. He now hit Leach to deep square leg. Although Daryl Mitchell took the catch, Curran was already out hit wicket.
There was just time in an eventful final over for Tom Curran to hit the last two balls for four to take Surrey to a formidable 363-7.
John Hastings never found the right length to bowl and almost notched up a century, his ten overs producing 1-97. The other quicker bowlers, like Hastings, seemed unfamiliar with the concept of the yorker and all went for over 6 an over whereas the three slower men, Ali, Mitchell and D’Oliveira, conceded less than 6 an over.
Although all sorts of totals look achievable after the Notts effort at Chelmsford, 364 was always going to be daunting against an excellent all-round Surrey bowling attack; and so it proved.
Surrey now have a couple of weeks to plan how they will contain the powerful Notts batting line up and reverse the result of their last two Lord’s finals. On today’s showing, they look to be more than up to the task.