An excellent knock from Sri Lankan veteran Kumar Sangakkara at the Oval saw Surrey reach the Royal London One-day Cup final. Nottingham crawled to 16-3, largely thanks to the efforts of 17-year-old Sam Curran, but a magnificent fightback saw them give their hosts a fright before they eventually succumbed by just four runs.
After Gareth Batty won the toss and put his side in to bat first, Steven Davies was lost in the third over after he edged Harry Gurney to Wessels in the slips. If Batty thought this was a bad start, the thought soon passed as the wicket brought Sangakarra to the crease. The 37-year-old batted for the majority of the Surrey innings as he reached the highest score in English one-day cricket this season.
Sangakarra’s 166 run innings, which came to an end only in the final over of the Surrey innings, constituted more than half of the hosts’ 300 run total and was ably supported by Ben Foakes and Gary Wilson.
Nottinghamshire may have had Stuart Broad available today, but they were missing a fair chunk of the top order that has impressed throughout the tournament. James Taylor and Alex Hales are off fulfilling England duties and the generally formidable Outlaws top order felt their absence.
When young Sam Curran removed Riki Wessels and Brendan Taylor in successive deliveries in the second over, and Dernbach began a solid afternoon’s performance by having Michael Lumb caught for just eight in the fifth over, Surrey must’ve felt the final was almost theirs. It was not to be so simple, however.
The Outlaws’ top order might have been their trump card through the season, but it wasn’t the only reason they topped their group table with seeming ease. They also have a fair bit of depth. Greg Smith is not a face we’ve seen a lot of this year and few people tweet in excitement about the former Leicestershire batsman, but on his list A debut for Nottinghamshire he almost took his side to Lord’s.
Smith made 124 and shared partnerships with Samit Patel, Dan Christian and Steven Mullaney, before being disappointingly run out. With a fine half century from Patel and from the big hitting Australian, and with Smith in such fine form, Nottinghamshire must’ve been firm favourites by the time Mullaney came to the crease.
As Mullaney proceeded to add another 41 runs to the chase, Surrey fans must been biting their nails. With the wicket of Smith, Chris Read came to the middle but a disappointing showing for the Notts captain left the visitors chasing more runs than Mullaney could handle with just bowlers by his side and, once again, the Outlaws’ one-day dreams were shattered in the knock-out stages.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws might be heading home empty handed, but they too can be pleased with their performance. With the top order cut in half, those that came after staged an impressive fightback and brought the match right down to the final over.
Surrey can be pleased with many of their side’s showings, not least those of the young Curran brothers and the much-maligned Jade Dernbach. Sangakkara was the star, but this was much more than a one-man show. Surrey will now meet Gloucestershire in the final on September 19th, their first Lord’s final in four years.