Peter Siddle signs two-year contract at Notts

Nottinghamshire have today announced the signing of Australian international fast bowler Peter Siddle, who joins the club on a two-year deal. Siddle is set to be available for selection in both County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures.

This marks Siddle’s second spell at the club, after a stint at Trent Bridge in 2014, in which he took 37 wickets from 11 County Championship matches. A brief spell at Lancashire prior to the 2015 Ashes series saw him take 18 wickets from just four matches at an average of 20.55.

The 30-year-old will bring a great deal of experience to the fast bowling ranks, having played in 57 Test matches and taking 198 wickets at 29.87, including figures of 5-50 at Trent Bridge in the 2013 Ashes and match figures of 6-67 in his most recent Test appearance at The Kia Oval this summer.

“I really enjoyed my time at Trent Bridge in 2014 and I can’t wait to come back,” Siddle said.

“Notts have had a strong batting line-up for a long time and – with some young bowlers also coming through – I’m excited by the way the squad is shaping up ahead of the new season.”

Of Siddle’s signing, Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire’s Director of Cricket, said “Peter brings high quality quick bowling and is a good fellow who fits in well with the team. He will provide leadership to our young bowling attack.

“If you look at the Ashes, he had some success at the Oval and Australia might regret not playing him in some of the earlier matches. He’s very much suited to English conditions and we’re certainly hoping to get the best out of him for the next couple of seasons.”

Siddle is currently with the Australian Test squad for their ongoing series against New Zealand, and will arrive at Trent Bridge at the end of the current Sheffield Shield season.

England and Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor, currently on tour with the international team, has tweeted his support for the signing of Siddle.

Bright future beckons for Curran Junior

If you’ve paid any attention to county cricket across the past three months, chances are you’ll have heard the name Sam Curran. At just 17-years-old, the left-arm seamer has broken into the Surrey side and prospered immediately. Many are suggesting him as a future England star, and it’s hard to disagree.

Still in full-time education at Wellington College, where he studies PE, Business Studies and Art, Curran first came into the Surrey side two weeks after his 17th birthday in a T20 Blast match against Kent. He bowled two overs for 20, and was dismissed for a nine-ball six as Surrey were defeated by 54 runs. It was an unspectacular debut, but a strong learning curve for the youngster. He had to wait only a week for his next game, and his first big statement. A-run-a-ball ten preceded an excellent three over spell of 3-17. Things only improved from there.

He made his Championship debut against Kent in mid-July and became the second youngest Surrey debutant in first-class cricket. He made much easier work of Kent than in his T20 debut. Opening the bowling, his fourth ball rearranged Joe Denly’s stumps, as he went on to become the youngest player to ever take a five-wicket haul in Championship cricket. Finishing with match figures of 8-120, Curran began to gather attention.

He followed that up with some fantastic List A performances, as he was instrumental in Surrey’s bid for the Royal London One-Day Cup, taking 15 wickets at 30. That included a 3-49 against Worcestershire, along with 2-54 in the semi-final against Nottinghamshire, in which he was on a hat-trick, after having had to request permission to have a day off of college.

That culminated in the chance to play in a Lord’s final. Though he didn’t pick up any Gloucestershire wickets and went for 32 in his six overs, his 37 runs batting at six almost took his side home. He refused to falter under immense pressure until the very end, keeping his head amidst tumbling wickets and an increasing run rate and was the only middle order batsman who seemed comfortable as tensions mounted.

After the match, skipper Gareth Batty suggested something pretty exciting, yet oddly terrifying about him. “I suppose most people have only really seen the bowling up until now but in his age group, he’s a batter – very much so and the bowling is maybe slightly secondary.”

239 runs in six Championship games at 47.8, including a half century in his final innings of the season against Northants, suggests that Batty is right, and we haven’t yet seen the full scope of his talents. However, when you see his bowling achievements thus far, it’s hard not to be afraid of what he can do.

From 23 matches in the senior side, he’s amassed 44 wickets, a feat which includes two five-wicket hauls in the Championship. Opening the bowling at 85 miles per hour, he’s proven himself a real threat to opening batsmen, with 17 of his wickets being openers.

As shown at Lord’s, his mentality is excellent. Batty was full of praise. “He’s somebody that we certainly need to look after, but you can see he’s got the temperament to take whatever’s thrown at him. He’s not fazed by a thing, which is very, very good to see.”

One punter suggested that Curran could soon break the late Brian Close’s record to become the youngest England Test player. Another described him as the “best 17-year-old [he’s] ever seen.

“And I saw a Root and Stokes at 17,” he goes on to say. “I’m scared of him.”

To break Close’s record, Curran would need to make his Test debut by the end of the 2016 summer. Talk of him breaking into this England side so soon is perhaps a little premature, and there is the risk that inclusion would result in a debut akin to Simon Kerrigan’s ill-fated solitary Test. Of course, should he continue in 2016 as he has this year, it may be hard to ignore his performances.

In the meantime, however, he’ll travel to Sri Lanka with the England Under-19s this winter and will be vying for a place in the squad for next year’s Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.

At 17, most are focused on their A-Levels and their social life. At 17, I’m bringing you this article. At 17, Sam Curran is being talked about for England. He has a bright future, and if he continues as he has begun, it is impossible to predict what he will achieve.

Danny Briggs joins Sussex from Hampshire

Hampshire have today announced that Danny Briggs has left the club in order to move to Sussex on a three-year contract. The 24-year-old had one year left on his contract, but the decision was made to give Briggs more opportunities in the longer form of the game, after appearances had become scarce towards the end of 2015 due to the emergence of other young spinners.

Briggs had progressed into the first team having come through Hampshire’s junior and Academy sides, making his first-class debut in 2009. He has impressed in the shorter form of the game, taking a club record 31 wickets in the 2010 Friends Provident t20, which Hampshire won. In all, he took 119 t20 wickets from 94 t20 matches, at an average of 19.4.

He made his England debut in 2012 against Pakistan in the UAE, taking two wickets as England secured a 4-0 ODI series whitewash, making him the youngest ever Hampshire player to represent his country.

In a statement, Briggs said “I’m really grateful that Hampshire are letting me leave early, I’d like to thank all players and coaches at the club for all their support over the years. I’m looking forward to joining Sussex and working with the players and coaching staff there. I’m excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Giles White, Hampshire’s Director of Cricket, said “Losing Danny is tough, however this is the right decision for him and therefore he goes with our blessing. I have been lucky enough to have seen him grow into the cricketer and person that he is today and he has been a pleasure to work with throughout.

“He understands the wider picture and in some ways it was inevitable, considering his ambition to progress in all forms of the game that it would lead to him moving on.  I hope the move allows him the opportunity to further his career in the longer form of the game with a good club like Sussex.  Danny is an extremely popular player, the team will miss him but I have no doubt that they will all wish him well.”

Surrey Season Review 2015

18th June 2015. That was the date that Surrey’s season reached a low. That evening, Surrey left the field at Guildford having been defeated by seven wickets by Glamorgan. This, after winning the toss, scoring 406 and having the Welsh county 106 for six in their first innings. They left that game 48 points adrift of leaders Lancashire at the halfway point of the County Championship.

The T20 Blast campaign was in disastrous shape, the London county picking up four points from their first six games, and rooted to the bottom of the South Group.

They had won four matches from their first 14. Things looked extremely bleak. After that Guildford defeat, however, things turned a corner.

Surrey won four of their remaining eight Blast games as they staged a late, albeit unsuccessful, charge for a place in the knockout stages. It was a disappointing end to the campaign, particularly considering defeat to rivals Middlesex all but confirmed their exit. This was a blessing in disguise, however, as they were able to focus on the Championship and the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Six wins from eight group stage games, including a no result, saw Surrey top Group A in the RLODC in relatively emphatic fashion – three of those victories were by at least 40 runs. Things became far more nerve-wracking after that, however, as knockout matches against Kent and Nottinghamshire almost ended in disaster thanks to centuries from Matt Coles and Greg Smith, who nearly clinched victory for their respective counties having stared defeat in the face.

Playing Gloucestershire in the final, a Jade Dernbach six-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, and half-centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Rory Burns left Surrey with one hand on the trophy. Some poor batting and relentless good bowling from Gloucestershire saw them lose by six runs, but it had been a strong campaign, especially after winning just one game in this competition in 2014.

Before, and during, their success in the RLODC, Surrey needed to recover in the Championship. That’s exactly what they did, winning their next four games, including an innings victory over Gloucestershire. Still second, the gap on Lancashire had closed to just ten points with four games remaining.

The antepenultimate match of the season saw them leapfrog Lancashire as a Gareth Batty hat-trick secured his side promotion. Surrey were left on the verge of the Division Two trophy – needing to avoid defeat to their contenders and pick up one win to guarantee the title. Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t quite beat Lancashire or Northamptonshire, but Lancashire’s draw at Essex saw Batty’s men lift the trophy. They had won 17 from 27 after the Glamorgan defeat, and it had been quite the turnaround as desperation turned to joy in an ultimately successful season.

Kumar Sangakkara. Pic: Tony Marshall
Kumar Sangakkara. Pic: Tony Marshall

The focus this year has been on young players, and they’re certainly in good supply at The Oval. The two standout stars were Tom and Sam Curran, but Matt Dunn had a solid season in the Championship, picking up 28 wickets from his nine games, James Burke played a huge role in Surrey’s One-Day Cup campaign and another strong year for Zafar Ansari saw him called up to the England squad for the UAE.

In addition, the experience of Kumar Sangakkara and captain Gareth Batty has been invaluable this year, both on and off the field. Contributions from everyone, however, was the key to Surrey’s success, and regardless of their age, it’s clear to see an abundance of talent at The Oval.

Some have made comparisons to Surrey’s almost identical 2011 season, where a mix of developing and experienced talent led them to promotion and a List A trophy. The death of Tom Maynard the following year was, understandably, a game-changer for that group of players, something that, one would hope, will not be an issue next year. They found form at the end of 2015, ending on a high, and with the developing players a year older, 2016 could be a really great year for Surrey.

LVCC: Winners, Division Two

T20 Blast: 7th, South Group

RLODC: Runners-up (1st, Group A)

Leading run-scorer: Kumar Sangakkara, 1691 runs

Leading wicket-taker: Tom Curran, 105 wickets

Win %: 51

 

Player of the Season

Tom Curran had quite the season. He took 105 wickets at 24.9 in all formats in 2015, including five-wicket hauls on five occasions along with a ten-for in the final Championship game of the season against Northants. His good form this year has also led to him being picked in the England performance squad.

Breakthrough Player

Tom Curran may have taken over 100 wickets across all formats this season, but it’s his younger brother Sam who has been making all the headlines. At 17, he has 44 wickets from 23 matches since his debut in June, and consistently bowls at 85 miles per hour, along with 239 first-class runs at 47.8 in six games, and is a future England star in the making.

Could have done better

While it’s difficult to pick any player who notably struggled during the year, Gary Wilson might have been slightly disappointed with his season. Unable to make a competitive century for the first time in three years, he also struggled with the gloves in the Nottinghamshire RLODC semi-final, and lost them to Ben Foakes in the following game.

Need to work on

On several occasions in the One-Day Cup, Surrey suffered a collapse caused by a top-heavy batting order. This was none more notable than in the final, where they lost their last eight wickets for just 71 runs and lost a game they had all but won. The middle order have batting talent – that’s clear to see – but the inability to put it into practice as wickets fall cost them.

Season Rating

Defeat in the One-Day Cup final would have dampened the mood slightly at Surrey, but it’s been an otherwise impressive season that has seen young talent emerge and experienced players at the top of their game as silverware returned to The Oval.

Mark: 8/10

Royal London One-day Cup final: Surrey strong final favourites

Surrey come into this Lord’s final as strong favourites, and deservedly so. They’ve lost only one game this competition, scored more runs than any other side and boast a terrific bowling line-up, and they face a Gloucestershire side that they’ve already beaten in this format. Everyone involved with the club should be mildly relaxed.

However, Surrey have a distinct tendency of trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as often as they possibly can. Look no further than their previous two games in this competition – nearly allowing number nine Matt Coles to claim victory for Kent in the quarter-finals and then allowing Nottinghamshire to recover from 16 for three to having a chance of victory from the final delivery.

It’s crucial to forget about the past, however, and simply look to the future. That’s certainly what the club appear to be doing, filling their squad with young talents in amongst some very experienced senior players – of the club’s regular side, six of them are 25 or younger.

It is Sam Curran who immediately stands out in that department. Since coming onto the scene in June, the younger of the Curran brothers has left all those inside, and some outside, cricket highly impressed. 34 wickets from his first twenty games, including 15 from this competition’s nine games, and bowling in the mid-to-high eighties at just 17 years of age certainly marks him out as one to keep an eye on.

One punter even went as far as to suggest the idea of Curran breaking the late Brian Close’s record as the youngest England test cricketer, though that seems extremely premature.

For five of those younger players – Curran and his brother, Tom, James Burke, Rory Burns and Ben Foakes, the chance to be part of a Lord’s final will be an experience like no other. The three bowlers, in particular, have coped well under pressure this summer – Tom Curran’s final over in the semi-final illustrated that he can thrive in the big moments – and I’d expect nothing less from them when their side need it the most.

Strength in depth is key for Surrey all round, but it is their batting line-up in particular that really shines. Despite more middle order collapses than one would like, every single player in the team, bar Jade Dernbach, is more than capable of playing a role with the bat – be it building the innings or providing late contributions.

Described as “still the best player in the world” by his captain Gareth Batty, Kumar Sangakkara has been a huge asset this season. Batting at three, he’s contributed 429 runs at an average of 61 with two centuries. His experience is invaluable to this young side and, when in full flow, makes the art of batting look like the easiest thing in the world.

While Surrey don’t rely on one player to score all their runs, it always seems like a given that Sangakkara will do so.

At the top of the order, Steven Davies and the returning Jason Roy do an excellent job of starting off an innings. They’ve opened together in seven matches this season and on every occasion, one of them has gone on and made a big score. They, along with Sangakkara, boast two centuries each and chances are, one of them will go big again on Saturday.

It’s important not to underestimate Gloucestershire coming into this match. Surrey beat them whilst they were missing Michael Klinger and so to assume that this final will be a walkover would be naive. They can certainly come into this final with a lot of confidence, however, knowing that all their hard work has led them to this point – only one step away from success.

A win at Lord’s would cap the end to a fantastic season for the South London county, who have already achieved promotion to Division One of the County Championship and, at the time of writing, are in a prime position to claim the Division Two title. Interestingly, the last time Surrey achieved promotion was in 2011, when they also took home the CB40 trophy. Coincidence? Perhaps.

With the chance to win a potential second piece of silverware in a week, Surrey’s first Lord’s final in four years will be one for fans and players alike to relish. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around all that often and this side will need to be at their best come Saturday to take home the crown.

 

RLODC Semi-Final Preview: Surrey v Nottinghamshire

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.

Key Men

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.

Samit Patel will have to do his dancing without James Taylor at the Oval. Pic: Nigel Roddis
Samit Patel will have to do his dancing without James Taylor at the Oval. Pic: Nigel Roddis

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.

Team News

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

Form

Surrey: WWLWW

Nottinghamshire: WALWW

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

Time: 11:30am

Ground: The Kia Oval

Umpires: TBC

Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 11/10, Nottinghamshire 8/11

Coles heroics not enough for Kent as Surrey triumph

A magnificent maiden List A century from Kent’s Matt Coles wasn’t enough as his side suffered a 17 run defeat at the hands of Surrey. Jason Roy’s 112 earlier in the day had put Surrey in a good position but it almost proved not to be enough after Coles, batting at nine, almost took Kent over the line.

With the ball moving around, Roy and Steven Davies got off to a solid start despite both openers being tested by Mitchell Claydon and Matt Coles. Coles found Davies’ edge in the sixth over but Stevens dropped the catch in the slips.

Stevens came into the attack in the eighth over, and immediately made an impact. With 39 wickets in 20 first-class matches, including 11 across the two Championship matches this season, Stevens has become somewhat of a nemesis for Surrey of late, but he took only his first ever wicket against the London side in List A cricket when Davies edged behind on 17. He’ll have been glad that his drop didn’t cost Kent too much.

Roy continued and reached his fifty from 60 balls, but shortly after reaching the milestone, Kumar Sangakkara edged James Tredwell to Stevens who this time made no mistake. Rory Burns came to the crease and he, alongside Roy, steadied the ship. Roy looked in reasonably good touch, though he did offer the occasional chance with a couple of loose shots. He pulled Matt Hunn to the boundary to reach his century from 109 balls.

On more than one occasion in the group stages, Surrey built a solid platform with a high-scoring top order batsman, only to see that platform fall apart when the batsman got out. When Roy slog swept to Blake at midwicket, Surrey would have been hoping it wouldn’t happen again.

It wasn’t to be. In the following over, Burns was bowled around his legs by Coles for 42, leaving Ben Foakes and Zafar Ansari to rebuild the innings, and when Foakes flicked to midwicket on four, Surrey were left 204/5 with 12 overs remaining.

Ansari and James Burke put together a partnership of 38 before Burke attempted to drive, and could only edge to Fabian Cowdrey at backward point. Tom Curran came to the crease and he smashed the last ball of the 48th over back over the head of Claydon. In the next over, Curran attempted the same shot off Coles but could only find Cowdrey just inside the boundary who took an excellent catch.

Next ball, Ansari went across his stumps and was bowled to leave Surrey 265/8. Coles was denied a second hat-trick of the season as Gareth Batty kept the hat-trick delivery out. However, first ball of the final over, Batty edged behind off Claydon before Sam Curran attempted a paddle sweep off the penultimate ball and could only find Hunn as the home side were bowled out for 273.

In the final 87 balls of their innings, Surrey had scored only 81 runs for seven wickets. It may not have cost them in this match, but with a strong Nottinghamshire side coming to The Oval in the semi-final, the London outfit will need to try and avoid another similar collapse if they are to reach Lord’s.

Kent got off to a poor start with 17-year-old Sam Curran taking the wicket of Daniel Bell-Drummond for just a single. Joe Denly then pulled him to Rory Burns and he was gone for 13, and with rain falling, the umpires immediately took the teams off the field at 22/2. Denly clearly wanted to try and catch the Duckworth-Lewis score up but instead his effort arguably hurt his side’s chances.

After a little over an hour off the pitch, the match resumed at 8pm with Kent left with a 40 over innings and requiring a total of 251.

Shortly after the restart, Tom Curran got Cowdrey for seven with a beauty that hit the top of his off stump. In his next over, Northeast came down the pitch, missed the slower ball and was bowled for 23. Ansari came into the attack in the 14th over and second ball, Billings came down the track and was stumped by Ben Foakes.

Alex Blake wasn’t giving up as he reverse swept the first ball of Ansari’s third over into the Peter May stand for six. Next ball however, he chipped to Roy and was gone for 17. At the end of the 19th over, Kent needed to be 173/6 on Duckworth-Lewis. They were 82/6.

Stevens brought up the hundred with a six over long on off Ansari in an over that accumulated 19. First ball of the next over, Batty had Tredwell caught behind for three. Stevens wouldn’t give up as he struck four boundaries including a lovely one-bounce four over mid off.

He and Coles added 39 for the eighth wicket but in Burke’s second over, he edged behind for 37 to leave Kent 140/8 and Surrey would have thought that his departure signaled the victory. What followed was something incredible.

Later that over, Coles hit Burke over the legside before switch hitting Batty for another maximum. Jade Dernbach came back into the attack in the following over and was hit back over his head by Coles. Three balls later, Dernbach bowled Claydon to leave Kent 169/9, and still needing 82 for victory.

The game seemed to be dead and buried but Coles kept the Kent faithful’s hopes up. He got down on one knee and hit Dernbach over long on for six as he reached his maiden List A fifty. In the next over, he skied Tom Curran only for it to fall between fielders, and when he was dropped by Burke next ball, Surrey would have been ever so slightly concerned.

Dernbach then had a short ball dispatched into the OCS stand and was hit into the stand over midwicket two balls later before Burke again went into the stands in the following over. With Surrey pushing the time left to bowl their overs, Batty brought himself back into the attack and was dispatched into the stands in consecutive balls – his over went for 17. Coles took a single off the first ball of the next over and with it, brought up his century from 71 balls with nine sixes.

Kent needed 18 to win from 15 balls, but with the cut off time rapidly approaching, a six run penalty was highly likely and Kent were on the cusp of an unthinkable victory. Coles couldn’t quite get the fairytale ending, as he skied one off Tom Curran and Ben Foakes took the catch to propel the home side into the semi-final.

Kent won’t help but feel that had anyone in the top order stuck around just a little longer, they might have gotten over the line. Meanwhile, Surrey will be questioning quite how they very nearly let a comfortable win slip away from them. They go into the semi-final against Nottinghamshire with plenty to think about. The slip-ups they’ve made in this game haven’t cost them, but it could be a completely different story a week on Monday.

RLODC Preview: Surrey v Kent

Surrey emerged winners of Group A, winning more games than any other side in the competition, having lost only the one game at Somerset. They have batted first in every game this season, opting to set a total and put faith in their bowlers to defend it, and with six wins, it’s safe to suggest that tactic has been successful. Conversely, Kent have chased in all but one game this year, and though their record of three wins from six completed matches doesn’t scream consistency like Surrey, it’s got them to this stage. In all likelihood, Surrey will bat first no matter the result of the toss.

The home side have scored over 2000 runs this campaign, due to their strong batting line-up that features Jason Roy, Steven Davies and Kumar Sangakkara. Davies is currently the leading run-scorer in the competition, and he and Roy have four half-century partnerships this year, including an opening stand of 195 against Northants. Surrey have bowled their opponents out on five occasions, leading to a handful of comprehensive victories. The four pace bowlers have 48 wickets between them, while Gareth Batty and Zafar Ansari offer a good option when pace off the ball is needed, something that could be crucial at The Oval.

Kent have a batting line-up that features two exciting young talents – Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Billings. The pair have over 250 runs each this campaign at an average of 67, and the visitors will be looking to them to lead the way with the bat. Alex Blake could also be an important part of a Kent challenge, with a strike rate of 129, he’ll provide a useful cameo batting at seven if his side are in trouble.

Key Men

17-year-old Sam Curran is still at Wellington College, but that isn’t stopping him from impressing the cricketing world with his all-round ability. A left-arm medium-fast bowler, Curran has 11 wickets from seven one-day games this season, bowls at speeds in the mid-80s and opens the bowling. In addition, he can provide useful contributions with the bat if necessary. He’s certainly one to look out for in the future, but for now, Surrey will be looking to him for early wickets to put Kent under pressure.

After missing out on a place at T20 Finals Day by virtue of losing more wickets, Kent skipper Sam Northeast will be looking to prevent another quarter-final exit for his side. Batting at three, he’ll want to lead from the front and get a score to prevent his lower order being left with pressure. He has only one half-century in this competition, a 74 that came in his side’s second game at Glamorgan. He comes into this match off the back of a 76 at Derbyshire in the Championship, and will be hoping for more of the same on Thursday.

Team News

Surrey welcome back Kumar Sangakkara as he returns from international duty, while Zafar Ansari is included in the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury. Gary Wilson misses out due to being with Ireland, and so Ben Foakes is expected to keep wicket.

Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Steven Davies, Jade Dernbach, Matthew Dunn, Aneesh Kapil, Kumar Sangakkara, Jason Roy

Kent squad: Sam Northeast (c), Sam Billings (wk) Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Darren Stevens, Fabian Cowdrey, Alex Blake, Sean Dickson, Adam Ball, Matt Coles, James Tredwell, Ivan Thomas, Mitch Claydon, Matt Hunn

Weather and conditions

Some light showers are expected in the early morning, and that may cause a slightly delayed start, but the weather looks set to stay dry for the course of the match, with cloud cover throughout and temperatures of 19 degrees.

Date: 27th August 2015

Time: 2.00pm

Ground: The Kia Oval

Umpires: TBA

Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 8/13, Kent 6/5

 

T20 Blast Preview: Surrey v Sussex Sharks

As we head into the final round of t20 Blast group matches, both Surrey and Sussex are likely to remain in their current qualification positions. Other results are crucial to change either side’s situation, but the away side’s fate lies first and foremost in their own hands, while for the hosts, in all likelihood, even a win won’t ensure progression to the quarter-finals.

In fact, little short of a miracle is necessary for Surrey to achieve qualification. Heading into their final seven games, Surrey’s chances were quite slim. After four wins from their next five games, things were looking much more positive and a quarter-final spot was well within reach. Their 43 run defeat at the hands of Middlesex on Thursday means that not only will they need to win by a considerable margin – their net run rate took a huge blow in the 43 run defeat to Middlesex in their penultimate game – but need both Gloucestershire and Kent to win their final matches. In all likelihood, any chance Surrey had of reaching the quarter-finals fell away on Thursday night.

The visitors, however, have had a much more solid season, and currently sit in third place. Two losses in their last three have prevented them earning an early spot in the knockout stages, but for the Sharks, things are much easier. A win guarantees qualification as well as a home quarter-final, while defeat will only mean elimination if both Essex and Glamorgan win. While it would be presumptive to suggest that Sussex are guaranteed a place in the next round, it’s difficult to see everything going against them at the final hurdle.

 

Key Men

Jason Roy may be Surrey’s second top run scorer in this year’s Blast with 273, but having only reached double figures four times from ten innings, it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been his best campaign. However, it was only last week that he hit a t20 best of 122* in his side’s victory over Somerset. The hosts will be looking for more of the same from Roy at the top of the order if they want to beat the Sharks.

For Sussex, opening batsman Luke Wright has been in fine form this year. With 564 runs this campaign, Wright is the third leading run-scorer in the competition. He comes into this game off the back of an unbeaten 92 two games ago, while boasting two half-centuries from this week’s County Championship match. If he gets off to a good start, the Sharks will be set well on their way to victory.

Team News

Surrey squad: TBA

Sussex squad: TBA

Form

Surrey: LWLWW

Sussex: LWLWW

Weather and conditions

Weather warnings have been issued for much of southern England, and with heavy rain sweeping across the capital, it’s unlikely any play will be seen. Abandonment would result in both sides remaining in their respective qualification situations.

Date: 24th July 2015

Time: 6:30pm

Ground: The Kia Oval

Umpires: Rob Bailey, David Millns, Ben Debenham

Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 8/11, Sussex 11/10

LVCC Preview: Surrey v Glamorgan

Both Surrey and Glamorgan boast an unbeaten record in the County Championship this season, but as second plays third, and with both pushing for the promotion spots, will we see one side’s streak come to an end?

After three wins in seven games, the home side currently sit second in Division Two, 31 points behind leaders Lancashire but with a game in hand. Their last outing against Leicestershire saw them deliver a crushing 178 run victory over the Midlands side, with Tom Curran finishing with career-best match figures of 9-92.

Surrey’s multiple strengths come from both aspects of their team. Their bowling line-up is strong, if not a little young, with only Chris Tremlett over 25 from their Leicestershire side. The London county have dropped only three bowling bonus points and failed to bowl out their opponents on only two occasions. With four scores north of 400, and two over 500, their batting line-up is just as strong. On a usually good Guildford pitch and with the small boundaries, Surrey will be looking for another big score to set up a win.

Glamorgan took their time to get out of the blocks, with their two wins coming from their last two games, after opening the campaign with four straight draws. They are in form though, which should give the Welsh county a lot of confidence coming into this game. Their last Division Two game saw them deliver a ten-wicket victory over Northamptonshire, Craig Meschede top scoring with 107 and Andrew Salter picking up career best figures of 6-69.

The last time these two sides met in this format, Zafar Ansari hit a career best 112, while Rory Burns and Gary Wilson hit 97 to lead Surrey to a nine-wicket victory.

Key Men

At only 20 years old, Tom Curran is showing a lot of promise at Surrey. He has 25 wickets this season at 31.68, and on the back of a nine-for, there is no expectation of him slowing down – both in wicket-taking and in pace. Chris Adams once likened him to Dale Steyn, and upon observing his lightning speeds, it’s easy to see why. If he can continue on from his performance against Leicestershire, Glamorgan will have a serious task on their hands to win this game.

If Glamorgan are to win this game, Craig Meschede will have a huge role to play. Currently leading the Welsh side’s wicket-takers with 20, and having scored 385 runs this season, he’s become a hugely important player this season. Meschede has scored at a strike rate of 90 this year, and on a small ground at Guildford, his quick scoring will be crucial in Glamorgan countering the effective Surrey bowlers.

Team News

Surrey squad: TBC

Glamorgan make one change to the squad for their last Championship outing against Northamptonshire, as David Lloyd returns in place of Ruaidhri Smith.

Glamorgan squad: Jacques Rudolph (c), Mark Wallace (wk), Will Bragg, Chris Cooke, Dean Cosker, Michael Hogan, Colin Ingram, David Lloyd, Craig Meschede, Andrew Salter, Graham Wagg, Ben Wright

Form

Surrey: WDWDW

Glamorgan: WWDDD

Weather and conditions

Mostly sunny, with some patchy cloud mean that this game should go without interruption. It will be good conditions for batting for the majority of the match, and on the small Guildford ground, that should add up to huge numbers of runs.

Date: 15th-18th June 2015

Time: 11am

Ground: Guildford

Umpires: Paul Baldwin and Steve O’Shaughnessy

Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 1/2, Glamorgan 6/4