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

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.


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