Surrey weak spots a focus for the future says Batty

Surrey captain Gareth Batty says they will need to address the make-up of their side in order to break their streak of losing in white-ball finals after losing to Nottinghamshire by four wickets.

The Londoners have been runners-up in the last three Royal London One-Day Cups and suffered defeat in the 2013 T20 final too, meaning their most recent limited over success remains the YB40 in 2011.

Batty – who won the toss and chose to bat against Notts – believes that it was the right decision for their side and that things must change.

He said: “You can’t keep losing and expect to say that it’s right because obviously it isn’t. It’s something that we need address further down the line. 50 over cricket is done for another year and we need to address where we’re at.

“It was a good pitch. For the way that we’re made up, our make-up at the minute, it was definitely right.

“We can’t and shouldn’t be relying on certain individuals. Everybody’s got to be performing the roles that are required.”

Alex Hales smashed records with an incredible 187* as his side won by four wickets, captain Chris Read – in his last Lord’s final appearance – chipping in with 58.

The England opener now boasts the highest score in a one-day match at Lord’s; the highest score by a Nottinghamshire batsman in List A cricket and he broke his own high score in the format.

“He’s been a fine player for a very long time for England and we saw that,” Batty said of Hales. “An international player [did] it on the domestic scene today, [he] played quite magnificently well.

“You [aren’t] going to get 187 and lose too many times. So, look, credit to him, but that’s no excuse from us. We could have and should have made the difference in other parts of the game.”

The defining moment of the innings undoubtedly came with Hales on nine as he chipped a Sam Curran delivery to cover where Ollie Pope couldn’t hold on to a chance that came at him quickly and Batty is adamant the blame doesn’t lie with the 19-year-old.

“He’s a young kid and he was magnificent in the field. He’s one of us, he’s got a massive future. We’re all to blame today, certainly not a young fella that’s putting himself on the map in a big way. If anything, that’s down to me.”

Surrey were defeated despite a well-fought 144* by opener Mark Stoneman, who held together his side’s hopes during a mid-innings collapse that saw them lost three for eight.

Stoneman was not included in the England Test squad for next week’s match against South Africa and his skipper is hesitant to criticise the selectors for their decision.

“It’s not the first time this season he’s played well. There’s been a couple of big hundreds in the Championship as well.

“We obviously want as many players as humanly possible to be playing for England from Surrey but it’s not my place to be saying who should and who shouldn’t.”

Surrey must now turn their attention to Monday’s County Championship game against Hampshire.

RLODC Final Preview: Surrey v Nottinghamshire

Take two teams, one that has taken 50-over cricket by storm and another who knows what it takes to play, and lose, a final, add a dash of England internationals and simmer for 100, breathless overs to get this: The Royal London One-Day Cup final.

Nottinghamshire and Surrey do battle against each other for the first time in the competition this season, both bidding for the opening trophy of the season at Lord’s.

It’s a prize that looks set to be overdue for both teams, with Notts trophyless since winning the One-Day Cup equivalent in 2013, while the Browncaps have been here and lost in the past two seasons.

And as you’d expect in a knockout competition, both teams arrive in the capital in form.

The Midlanders have enjoyed a play-off and semi-final of dreams, racking up 429 thanks to a wonderful century from Brendan Taylor.

Somerset, to their credit, mustered more than 400 in their response, though the Nottinghamshire bowling line-up just about held their own.

If their performance at Taunton was majestic, then their one at Chelmsford was meteoric, as Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney both blazed hundreds in a record 50-over chase at Chelmsford. Confidence is certainly among that particular camp.

Surrey meanwhile also came through the play-off system from third place in the group, battling in victory at both Yorkshire and Worcestershire to secure their Lord’s place.

The first was to come via, who else, Kumar Sangakkara, the old dog showing old tricks in making 121 against the White Rose on their old patch. Take that, said Surrey, as Ravi Rampaul, Jade Dernbach and Tom Curran all starred with wickets.

From there they took apart Worcestershire, first through Jason Roy and Ben Foakes – the ever-reliable all-rounder, with gloves and bat, before Gareth Batty returned to haunt his old club.

Five wickets and nine overs, coupled with a mighty celebration with each of them, showed he has old scores to settle.

Those come in the form of Royal London heartache. Twice Surrey have been here, twice they have been in commanding positions, and twice they have lost.

The first was to come at the hands of Gloucestershire, a side second-favourites who won by just a handful or runs, before Jonathan Trott ground Warwickshire to victory in a way only the former England batsman could.

Key Men

If there’s a man to describe run-scoring by the bucketload, then pick Samit Patel and then pick him again.

Two double-hundreds in his County Championship repertoire tell their own story, but these were not just innings to judge from a scorecard, they were ones of brilliance, power and excellence.

Then you talk about his One-Day Cup form. Before the knockouts came an unbeaten century against Lancashire in the penultimate game, while only rain stopped him in the next outing.

From there came 66 in the behemoth score against Somerset, and then the sprinkle upon cherry upon icing upon cake, an unbeaten 122 in a record chase against Essex. That it finished with two streaky fours was a disservice to what was pure brilliance from a man who knows no end to his run-making abilities.

Which means he will be out for a duck. That he is keeping James Pattinson and Stuart Broad, Ashes bowling rivals, Alex Hales, Steven Mullaney and Brendan Taylor says it all.

The same could be said for Surrey. Jason Roy, Gareth Batty, Kumar Sangakkara, Ben Foakes and Jade Dernbach could all take this honour, but it falls upon Tom Curran.

The elder sibling is too in form, bursting with confidence having made his England debut in the T20 series with South Africa.

The Notts batting unit is power-punched, so the key to restricting runs will come via the wickets, and Curran knows how to take a scalp.

Still only 22, Curran removed Gary Ballance – a man almost marauding his way to an England call-up for a mere 36 in the play-off, just as he looked to get going.

He was to also play down Matthew Waite’s superb, late cameo, while he too knows which end to hold a bat, and then some.

Team News

It’s a tale of two fast bowlers for Notts, with Jake Ball – who missed out in the final in 2013 due to selection – this time sitting on the sidelines with injury.

Stuart Broad meanwhile has overcome a heel problem to take his place in the starting XI as Notts look to make the most of their incredible international options.

Nottinghamshire squad: TBC

Surrey have named a fourteen-man squad for tomorrow’s Royal London One-Day Cup final.

The squad is the same as that which beat Worcestershire in the semi-final, with all-rounder Scott Borthwick, fast bowler Stuart Meaker and batsman Dominic Sibley joining the XI that lined up at New Road.

Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (captain), Scott Borthwick, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Jade Dernbach, Ben Foakes (wk), Stuart Meaker, Ollie Pope, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Roy, Kumar Sangakkara, Dominic Sibley, Mark Stoneman

Weather and conditions

It’s July, but that doesn’t mean the summer is over! It’s expected to be dry at Lord’s, hooray, if a little overcast, with the sun peaking through on occasion in the capital. Take a brolly though, just in case. All being well you can use it to protect yourself from the sun, though it is a modest 21.

Date: July 1 2017

Ground: 11am

Venue: Lord’s Cricket Ground

Odds: Nottinghamshire 5/6 Surrey 5/6

The Road to Lord’s: Nottinghamshire

“A damn close run thing,” said Samit Patel about the Battle of Waterloo. Or was it the Duke of Wellington about Nottinghamshire reaching the Royal London One Day Cup final? Or maybe I’m confused.

Whilst few would argue that Nottinghamshire have put in enough outstanding team and individual performances to justify their appearance at Lord’s this Saturday in the Royal London One Day Cup final, it is also true that they have needed a few helpings of good fortune along the way.

The East Midlands club got off to a dodgy start when they lost their first two games in the North Group, including defeat by Worcestershire under the Duckworth/Lewis rules despite a hundred by Michael Lumb.

They then won three in a row to get their campaign off the ground. At home against Durham, an Alex Hales hundred looked to have ensured another win. But Paul Collingwood and wicket keeper Stuart Poynter added 53 in just 4.4 overs to snatch a four wicket win and stifle Nottinghamshire’s momentum.

It looked likely that Notts would need to win their last two Group games to qualify. Against Lancashire, Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney delivered with a blistering stand of 181 in 28.3 overs to achieve a win with four overs to spare.

And so to the final round with all to play for.

If Lancashire beat Durham (as they did) and Notts lost to Northants, Notts would be most likely be out. When Northants were 79-0 off the first 14.4 overs, Notts were up against it. Then, luckily, it rained and Notts gained a point for a non-result, scraping through with nine points from their eight games.

And so to the record breaking quarter final against Somerset at Taunton. Brendan Taylor scored a magnificent 154 off just 97 balls as Notts ran up 429 off their 50 overs.

When Somerset reached 364-9 with less than seven overs to go, it looked all over. But Jamie Overton and Tim Groenewald added 41 and reduced the target to 25 off two overs. Then Stuart Broad ran out Overton and Notts had sneaked home by just 24 runs.

In the semi-final at Chelmsford, the Nottinghamshire bowlers suffered more punishment, conceding 370 off their 50 overs.

The response of the batsmen was magnificent. Steven Mullaney hit 111 off 75 balls, Samit Patel finished not out on 122 and Notts were home with just three balls to spare.

It is pretty clear where the strengths of the Nottinghamshire team lies. Four players (Patel, Mullaney, Root and Taylor) are averaging over 60.

Whilst Stuart Broad and James Pattinson have been reasonably economical, and have taken 10 and 12 wickets respectively, others have been less successful. Luke Fletcher, Jake Ball, Samit Patel, Harry Gurney and Mullaney have all conceded more than six an over.

Top of the batting statistics is Samit Patel will 532 runs at an average of 76. He could well say, as the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, “I don’t think it would have been done if I had not been there. “

The Road to Lord’s: Surrey

Such is the format of the Royal London One-Day Cup that, remarkably, Surrey were able to win just four of their eight group games and still find themselves in a third final in as many years.

Their, thus far successful, campaign began poorly with Surrey on the receiving end of Roelof van der Merwe’s second highest score in a Somerset shirt (165*) as they recovered from 22-5 to win by four wickets. That was despite Ben Foakes hitting 92. Foakes is yet to record a three-figure score in the competition but has six half-centuries from seven innings, and boasts the tournament’s highest average of 120.25.

Victory at Cardiff in their second game came largely thanks to Mark Stoneman, whose 48-ball 74 helped his new side to a comfortable chase of a reduced target of 182. But that failed to ignite a winning streak and, two days later, they were defeated by one wicket against Essex.

Defending just 210 after winning the toss, Jade Dernbach took four wickets – taking him to ten in white-ball cricket from just three games – but Essex’s number nine Simon Harmer helped his team over the line with an unbeaten 44.

Next up came the London derby, with Middlesex travelling south of the Thames only to return empty-handed. Nick Gubbins and John Simpsons struck fifties, but only two other batsmen made double figures. Ravi Rampaul picked up four wickets and Surrey’s top order made light work of their 244 chase, with three half-centuries.

But Surrey were to falter once again just two days later against Sussex. Mark Stoneman and Ollie Pope both made fifties but it wasn’t enough to counter the Sharks’ 300, the visitors all out for 205.

Defeat at Hove made it just two wins from five although they sat fifth, level on points with both Hampshire and Glamorgan.

Stuart Meaker had just one wicket from three One-Day Cup matches but found rejuvenated success against Kent in his fourth, taking 4-37 to bowl out the visitors for 204 in a reduced match. Foakes had earlier hit 82 to give Surrey victory and keep realistic qualification hopes alive.

George Bailey’s second highest List A score of 145* had given Hampshire a defendable total of 271 but, with rain forecast at The Oval, the almost immovable Kumar Sangakkara decided to take no risks, striking 124 from 121 balls to give his side a 66 run win on Duckworth/Lewis.

A washout at Bristol, as well as between Hampshire and Sussex at Southampton, meant Surrey finished third in the South Group and earned a playoff spot against Yorkshire.

The Vikings were Surrey’s semi-final opponents last year and once again succumbed to the Southerners. Sangakkara scored his 100th century in all forms while Foakes, whose 90 was crucial in their encounter last August, hit 86 as Surrey claimed a 24 run victory.

Jason Roy returned for the semi-final at Worcester after England’s Champions Trophy exit and scored 92, with Sangakkara and Foakes once again contributing fifties as Surrey posted a mammoth 363. Captain Gareth Batty played at New Road for eight years and picked up his first five-wicket-haul against his former club to demolish them by 153 runs, setting up Saturday’s final against Nottinghamshire.

Gareth Batty Demolishes his old Club to Take Surrey Back to Lord’s

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.

RLODC Semi-Final Preview: Worcestershire v Surrey

Worcestershire take on Surrey at Worcester on Saturday for a place in the Royal London One Day Cup final at Lord’s to be played on 1 July.

The last time the home side reached a semi-final, let alone a final, was as far back as 2004. Since then, too often on the road to Lord’s they have been left stranded on the hard shoulder.

Surrey, on the other hand, are bidding for their third consecutive Royal London final.

Worcestershire will take comfort from home ground advantage. They have won all their home matches in the competition this year, every one against a team from a Test match ground.

Worcestershire topped the North Group with six wins out of eight. Surrey scraped through in third place in the South Group, before defeating Yorkshire on Tuesday in a quarter final game.

Ironically, having to play that game at Headingley could help Surrey by getting them thoroughly back in 50 over mode. By contrast, Worcestershire played their last Royal London game almost exactly a month ago. They will have to make a rapid adjustment.

This game is too close to call. Worcestershire’s home record is formidable but Surrey have a highly talented squad.

It will all come down to who strikes form on the day; and it could just be that Surrey, still on a high from that Headingley win, will hit their stride quicker. Nevertheless, you would have to be nuttier than a squirrel’s picnic to bet heavily on the result.

As a wise politician once said, we had better wait and see.

Key Men

Getting an important all-rounder back from Champions Trophy duty is a bonus for Worcestershire. Yes, we are talking about John Hastings, the powerful Australian who combines hard hitting in the middle order with canny fast-medium bowling.

Hastings is joint top wicket taker for Worcestershire with ten victims. His useful contributions with the bat have been at a strike rate of 142.85.

Three years ago, Hastings helped Durham to the Royal London final but missed out on playing at Lord’s because of Champions League commitments. “I was absolutely devastated,” he says. “For me to get to a Lord’s final, and stand on that balcony, would be amazing.”

As for Surrey’s key man, he surely can’t do it again, can he? Don’t bet against it. Kumar Sangakkara is having the final season of his dreams.

He averages around 90 in both the Royal London Cup and the County Championship so far with seven hundreds. In his last two Royal London innings, he has scored 245 runs for once out.

Sangakkara’s Headingley century was his 100th in first class and List A matches. Everyone who saw his obvious disappointment when he finally was dismissed for 124 was left in no doubt that his appetite for runs is undiminished.

Team News

Worcestershire welcome back not just John Hastings but also Moeen Ali. They will, however, be without their only century maker and top run-scorer in the competition this year, Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

When it was revealed that Kohler-Cadmore intended to join Yorkshire next season, he was somewhat peremptorily told he could go now. So the promising young batsman misses out on a semi-final appearance but Worcestershire will have to do without his runs.

Worcestershire squad: Daryl Mitchell, Moeen Ali, Tom Fell, Joe Clarke, Brett D’Oliveira, Ben Cox (wk), Ross Whiteley, Joe Leach (c), John Hastings, Ed Barnard, Josh Tongue, Jack Shantry, George Rhodes

Surrey welcome back Jason Roy to their squad. He will clearly be eager to end his run drought. Stuart Meaker is also in the Surrey squad together with the eleven who defeated Yorkshire.

Surrey squad: Scott Borthwick, Kumar Sangakkara, Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Ben Foakes(wk), Ollie Pope, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Gareth Batty(c), Ravi Rampaul, Stuart Meaker, Jade Dernbach, Mark Stoneman

Form

Worcestershire: WWWLWTie
Surrey: WNRWWLW

Weather and conditions

With a forecast of bright sunshine and a top temperature of 26 degrees, there is no danger of the River Severn overflowing its banks. A large crowd can bask in the sun; and the Ladies Pavilion should do an excellent trade in their famous teas.

On the pitch, teams batting first have averaged just under 300 in their 50 overs this season so spectators should see plenty of runs.

Date: 17 June 2017
Time: 11.00 am
Ground: Worcester
Odds (SkyBet): Worcestershire 5/4; Surrey 8/13

Patel leads the way as Outlaws book their ticket to Lord’s

Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney hit centuries as Nottinghamshire delivered a record List-A chase in England to reach the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The two batted together for 23.4 overs accumulating 185 runs, enough to chase down 371 with three balls to spare – despite Jamie Porter taking three wickets for Essex. That came after Alastair Cook bludgeoned his fifth successive 50+ score with a ton, while Ryan ten Doeschate also hit a century to appease the Chelmsford fans, making 370-5.

But the Eagles’ knockout demons came back to haunt them, with this just their second defeat of their competition – following up quarter-final losses in the past three seasons in a 743-run thriller.

Nottinghamshire were one of the few beneficiaries of England’s early Champions Trophy exit, as they were graced by Alex Hales at the top of the order to partner world T20 champion Michael Lumb.

Lumb miscued Porter to short backward point for the breakthrough, but Notts remained rampant, peppering the cover boundary with baffling, yet beautifully timed, regularity. The bid for the highest successful domestic List A chase was on.

Sublimity meeting wafitness was the biggest head-scratcher of all, and when Hales – seemingly plumb lbw – was awarded four runs, that proved the last straw for Porter.

Fired up, two balls later Hales was bowled looking to up a rate already menacingly high, while Wessels (23) followed in a similar suit. This remember is a man who, when just 22, said he would bowl out Test opener David Warner, and subsequently did when the Australians came to town. He has the heart of a lion, bowled seven overs straight through, and changed the mood in Chelmsford.

Essex have an unhealthy relationship with limited-overs knockout matches, and a 100-run partnership between Taylor and Patel suggested more heartache.

Taylor’s effort followed his 154 in the Outlaws’ stunning quarter-final against Somerset, but a needless run out saw him back to the pavilion with his partner unmoved as Porter threw in to Simon Harmer. The lion roared back.

Mullaney joined in the fun with four boundaries from a Harmer over, before reaching his own half-ton from 39 balls as the target ticked below 100. Patel – who made 257 in the Championship recently – got to three figures, while his partner joined him with a first in the format, with a six over long-on off Bopara.

The partnership kept going, ticking over 150, for a Notts record for the fifth wicket, before eventually being halted as Mullaney tried to uppercut Neil Wagner.

But, as the game ticked into the last over, Patel (122*) held his nerve, thanks to a glove down the leg-side, to book Nottinghamshire’s place at Lord’s on July 1, where either Worcestershire or Surrey await.

Earlier in the piece, there was a man who scored 133 runs from 128 balls who looked very much like Alastair Cook at Chelmsford. But surely it couldn’t have been him. Cook doesn’t do things like accumulate five successive 50+ scores, or hit a half-century in 35 balls, or lead his team to a high score. That’s what we’ve been told at least.

This Essex imposter, or Cookalike if you will, did all of the above. And subsequently the Eagles were in the driving seat.

From just the game’s ninth ball, Cookalike looked all too familiar with a textbook late cut, a shot defining a career against the non-too-shabby England international Jake Ball.

Pairing with Varun Chopra, the 32-year-old dominated early on, putting on 38 of the game’s first 50 as Harry Gurney became a favourite to target. Cookalike’s own half-century was to come, with nine fours in the effort, soon after, but when Chopra ticked Mullaney behind, Notts had the much-needed breakthrough on 87-1.

The sign of a Cookalike in good form is the execution of the straight drive, so the visitors must have feared the worst when two overpitched went pinging to the rope. The second of those brought up the century, off Stuart Broad, with 13 fours leaving the Chelmsford crowd purring, though Tom Westley and Bopara had by then departed.

That only paved the way for ten Doeschate. A second-ball six from a free hit allowed him to settle, and but when four successive boundaries came from Mullaney’s military medium, the Dutch international was well on his way.

Cookalike eventually fell to a top-edge off Patel, not before accumulating 133 and a 12th List A century to reaffirm his place at the top of the RLODC run standings.

But the captain was only just getting started, accelerating to 50 in 40 balls, showing no signs of stopping as three towering sixes came from Harry Gurney in the 49th over alone.

James Foster joined in the fun for the Eagles to finish on 370-5, with 75 runs from just 32 balls the late damage. Essex’s highest score of the competition this season was secured. But it proved not enough.

RLODC semi-final Preview: Essex v Nottinghamshire

After an exciting round of quarter-finals earlier this week, we head into the first semi-final at Chelmsford, where Essex host Nottinghamshire Outlaws.

Essex claimed home ground advantage, and direct qualification for this semi, after a group campaign that saw them lose just one game. Notts took a somewhat rockier path, but capped off a less-than-perfect first stage with a record breaking win against Somerset on Tuesday.

The Outlaws will travel with their usual barrage of strong players, such as Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels and Samit Patel – an already impressive line-up that is set to be boosted by the return of Jake Ball and Alex Hales, while internationals Stuart Broad and James Pattinson will also be on the scene.

Enviable though their players may be, Notts still had to scrap their way into the knockout stages of this tournament, while Essex seemingly flew through. The Eagles have some big names of their own, not least Alastair Cook whose 50-over record has been pretty impressive of late.

Add to that list Varun Chopra, Ravi Bopara, Tom Westley, Ashar Zaidi and the always impressive James Foster – who is due to retire at the end of this season and will be eager to go out with a bang – and it becomes rather tough to pick a winner.

With some international talent on show, warm if cloudy weather and a sell-out crowd, we have the makings of a fantastic day’s cricket at Chelmsford.

Key Men

Picking the former England captain and veteran of 140 Tests may sound a simple choice for key man, but Alastair Cook has earned his own place at the top of the pile.

With Notts boasting an international attack, Test-match mode may be the order of the day despite the slap-dash of the format, with an anchorage innings from Cook the potential difference in the match, particularly if Essex bat first.

His recent RLODC record makes pretty reading too, scoring 54, 65, 67*, 109, 37 and 127 in the last half-dozen outings, with the one effort below 50 the only time Essex have lost in the competition so far. Coincidence? I think not.

With the Outlaws having a side full of stars, it can often be difficult to single out one player. After a fantastic performance with the bat on Tuesday, there are plenty of contenders, but one man has stood out above all others throughout the tournament.

Samit Patel seems to just keeps on improving and impressing as his career goes on, and the quarter-final at Taunton was no exception. Playing second fiddle to Brendan Taylor, as they put on a partnership that went well into three figures, Patel stroked the ball to the boundary time and again with such ease. He then finished the day with a couple of wickets.

In general, Patel’s bowling figures have been less impressive than usual, the batting has been as solid as ever. His 66 against Somerset was just a bit part, but his 103* against Lancashire was key in sending the side to the quarterfinal, and 79 was central to the victory against Leicestershire.

Never showy or verbose, and always reliable, Patel is known for simply getting on with his job.

Team News

Chris Silverwood has named a 13-man squad for this meeting. His side will be without bowler Matt Quinn, who suffered a back spasm in a recent SSCC fixture, but otherwise has a fully fit squad to select from.

Essex squad: Ryan ten Doeschate (captain), Ravi Bopara, Varun Chopra, Alastair Cook, James Foster (wk), Simon Harmer, Dan Lawrence, Jamie Porter, Neil Wagner, Paul Walter, Tom Westley, Adam Wheater, Ashar Zaidi

Nottinghamshire welcome Jake Ball and Alex Hales back to the squad, with Luke Wood and Brett Hutton making way for them. Otherwise, they head to Chelmsford with the same squad that made a record number of runs earlier in the week.

Nottinghamshire squad: Chris Read (captain, wicketkeeper), Brendan Taylor, James Pattinson, Steven Mullaney, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Alex Hales, Harry Gurney, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Jake Ball, Michael Lumb, Billy Root

Form

Essex: WWWWL
Nottinghamshire: W NR WLW

Weather and conditions

Like the weather for most of us recently, Chelmsford is set to be warm and cloudy so the ball might swing a little. No rain is forecast, so no interruptions expected.

Date: 16th June, 2017
Time: 1:30pm
Ground: The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
Odds (SkyBet): Essex 11/10, Notts 8/11

Kumar Sangakkara’s hundredth century steers Surrey to Royal London semi-final

Kumar Sangakkara completed his 100th hundred in first-class and List A cricket to lead Surrey to a total in excess of 300 that ultimately proved beyond Yorkshire, to set up a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final with Worcestershire. 

It was Sangakkara’s innings of 121 at a run a ball, well supported by 86 from 88 balls by Ben Foakes that proved decisive for Surrey. The pair added 180 in 29.1 overs for the fourth wicket.

On a pitch that was true but lacked pace, Yorkshire struggled against the Surrey seam quartet who made excellent use of the yorker.

The Yorkshire quick bowlers seldom put the ball in the blockhole and took only two wickets in their 30 overs whereas the Surrey seamers took five in 38. Even when the Surrey quicker bowlers slightly missed their intended length, the odd low full toss also proved quite effective.

No matter that the Yorkshire spinners, led by Azeem Rafiq with 3-51, outbowled their Surrey equivalents. The seam men plus the extra class of Sangakkara made the difference.

Having won the toss on a fine Yorkshire afternoon, Surrey decided to make first use of the same pitch that did service last month in the ODI v South Africa. England calls deprived Surrey of Jason Roy and left Yorkshire without five key players.

Surrey lost Mark Stoneman early on when he edged a half-volley from Ben Coad.  Fellow Durham renegade Scott Borthwick looked in good nick, hitting Tim Bresnan for three successive boundaries and then Matthew Waite for two more. He had added 61 with Sangakkara before he played back to a full length ball from Rafiq and was palpably lbw.

Rory Burns swept Karl Carver straight to Bresnan and at 70-3, the Surrey innings was in the balance.  Enter Foakes. He and Sangakkara played beautifully together. Foakes was all bottom hand whereas Sangakkara’s top hand was always in control as he played a range of elegant shots.

Sangakkara drove through the off side, danced down the pitch to loft the spinners and pulled or cut with precision anything that was dropped short.  He even managed to make a scooped four off  Fisher look elegant. Still run-hungry in this his last season, he showed his disappointment when he went down the pitch once too often and was stumped off Rafiq.

Vital though the Sangakkara/Foakes stand was, the late flurry from young Ollie Pope was crucial in raising Surrey’s total over 300.  He scored 37 off just 25 balls, hitting Coad over long off for six and then reverse pulling the same bowler for two fours, the 49th over costing a vital 22 runs.

When Yorkshire began their reply, Adam Lyth was quick to punish any loose deliveries. Alex Lees never quite got going and hit Jade Dernbach to Pope at deep square leg.

The technology revealed that Jack Leaning probably got away with a thin edge off Sam Curran. He and Lyth added 95, with the former England opener hitting Gareth Batty for six over long on.

Lyth was never going to compete with Sangakkara for stylish elegance but his big failing was that he failed to go on to a really big score, skying Ravi Rampaul to deep cover. His 75 was off 83 balls and included eight fours and the one six.

When Leaning edged Rampaul to Foakes, this brought together the two big beasts of the Yorkshire batting line-up, Gary Ballance and Peter Handscomb.

Their stand of 64 was competent enough but it took almost ten overs at a time when some acceleration was needed. Ballance hit a full toss from Tom Curran to mid-wicket to fall for 36 and Bresnan never really got going.

Handscomb made a valiant attempt to up the rate.  He had reached 60 off 52 deliveries when he hit Jade Dernbach to wide long on.

It was a fine blow but Rory Burns made a difficult running catch look almost easy.  It was the key moment in the Yorkshire innings.

Well though young Matthew Waite batted for his 34 off 24 balls, it always looked to be in a losing cause. Rafiq and Fisher were both run out in the 49th over, Rafiq departing when Dernbach followed through and kicked the ball onto the stumps.

When Waite backed to leg and saw his stumps dislodged in the last over, he became the only player to be bowled in the whole match.

At 289-9 in their 50 overs, Yorkshire were 24 runs short after a valiant but vain chase.  The Surrey fielding was keen though a few half-chances of catches and run outs were missed.

The seam quartet of Dernbach, Rampaul and the Curran brothers stuck to their task well throughout the innings.

Overall, Surrey were worthy winners.  They travel to Worcester on Saturday for the semi-final fixture.  If successful, they will be in their third successive Royal London final.

Notts reach One-Day Cup semi-final in record-breaking epic at Taunton

Nottinghamshire posted 429, the highest ever List A score at Taunton, before holding off a spirited Somerset chase to set up a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final against Essex.

Somerset scored 405 runs off 48 overs in a dramatic run-chase but ultimately still fell short of Notts’ mammoth total.

It’s also the first time Somerset have conceded 400 from 50 overs at Taunton. Brendan Taylor surpassed his List A best of 145 with his scintillating 154 from just 97 balls as the records tumbled.

Dean Elgar top scored in the chase with 91 and Peter Trego made 66, while many others chipped in, but no one else spent quite long enough in the middle to see Somerset to their most unlikely of chases.

Jamie Overton was named as key man in our preview due to his ability with the ball but nearly won his side the game with the bat having failed to do so so desperately in the Championship against Yorkshire yesterday. His 40 off 26 balls nearly pulled off the unthinkable, only to end in a run out trying to get back on strike.

With the ball, Jamie Overton’s first over (the second of the match) went for 20. Promptly replaced by Lewis Gregory to bowl the third from the river end, he too was hit to the boundary off his first delivery, meaning all of Somerset’s first three bowlers had suffered that fate.

Notts took 79 off the first ten overs, Riki Wessels and Michael Lumb making sure it really was a powerplay period. Lumb was the early destroyer, but he was caught in the first post-powerplay over, at cover off Roelof van der Merwe.

Wessels’ biggest six came in the 17th over off Tim Groenewald, smearing him above the players’ balcony on top of the Andy Caddick Pavilion. Just as the negativity of the Somerset contingent of the press box reached fever pitch, wesselmania, was ended. Adam Hose dived forward well at mid-off giving Groenewald the prize scalp, concluding a sublime 81 off 62 balls.

Six maximums and sixteen fours came off the first 20 overs and the Outlaws were 156/2. When all thought Samit Patel and Taylor would then rebuild, they simply carried on exactly as Lumb and Wessels were, stroking the ball to the boundary with unbelievable ease.

When Patel departed, Mullaney came in and carried off exactly where Patel had left off, striking at nearly 200 for most of his innings. Taylor brought up a sumptuous century off only 69 balls. Soon after, Steven Mullaney fell to another catch in the outfield, meaning all the first four wickets fell to average deliveries which really should have gone to the boundary.

Billy Root comparatively struggled early doors, confirming the surprise that Chris Read had not sent himself or James Pattinson in for a last eight over whack. Dropped off his 85th ball, Taylor scored another 29 off his next 12 balls. His eventual wicket triggered a minor collapse at Taunton. Three wickets fell on 410, Gregory taking three in four balls. He vastly improved his figures from his last three overs working his way up to final stats of 4-60. Only Pattinson below number five got double figures, but the Outlaws won’t complain after scoring a remarkable 429/9.

Johann Myburgh started the Somerset reply with a bang, 14 off the first over, hitting 10 fours in his first 16 balls faced. But when he was bowled by an in-swinging Harry Gurney yorker, the out of form Steven Davies came and went quickly and Jim Allenby never got his strike rate above 100 before getting out much the same way as his wicketkeeper.

Elgar was dropped by Pattinson at mid-on having scored just two with Somerset 77/3, then was dropped again off Pattinson’s bowling by Read when on 17 and just chipped over mid-off on 18. He made the most of his fortune and reached 50 off 33 balls after 18 overs.

Somerset were well up with the rate at 172/3 after 20 overs, incredibly ahead of where Notts were at this point.

Having hit 16 off Patel with two monstrous sixes, Trego tried one shot too many and holed out at deep mid-wicket for 66 off 47.

Hose, van der Merwe, Gregory and Craig Overton all seemed to believe while they were still out there, but that belief was severely dented when Elgar was bowled for 91 by Broad and even more severely so when van der Merwe fell with Somerset on 335.

Yet still the game was not over, Somerset continued to refuse to lie down. Groenewald and Jamie Overton put on 41 for the final wicket, getting it down to 24 required off 2.1 overs only for a run out mix up to cruelly finish their remarkably ambitious run chase.

Nottinghamshire will meet Essex in Friday’s semi-final at Chelmsford.