Surrey have Blast ‘momentum’ – Finch

Surrey have Blast ‘momentum’ – Finch

Aaron Finch believes Surrey have built strong momentum as the Vitality Blast has progressed.

The Australian hit a century as Surrey hammered Somerset at the Kia Oval with the visitors losing nine wickets for 69 runs despite being 80-0 after nine overs. 

Finch returned to destructive form and appeared to be completely in the zone.

Surrey know they have to win their final match against Essex to stand any chance of qualifying are relying on other results going their way.

“We are in a position where we have to rely on other results which is never where you want to be towards the back end of a tournament,” Finch said.

“Once we got off to a reasonably good start we made a call to try and maximise on net run rate. If it does come to it today will be a big swing for us. 

“Since the half way point of the tournament when we were down and out we’ve played some great cricket and built up some real momentum.

“I just tried to maximise against bowlers I felt well against. It was only when I was on 97 and saw the ball go through backward point and third man that I actually thought about [getting a hundred].”

Maximise was something Finch certainly did.

The game didn’t look like going Surrey’s way at the start. As always, Somerset’s opening partnership dominated in the powerplay overs. The 50 partnership, their sixth 50 partnership of the tournament, came up in just 29 balls with Banton looking particularly dangerous, hitting Sam Curran back over his head for six in the third over.

Somerset finished the powerplay 57-0 with Banton on 36 off 22 and Azam on 19 from 15.

At 80-0 after 8.1 overs Somerset looked in a position to build a huge score. At last Surrey made the breakthrough with Banton looking to bring his half century with a slog sweep up off Tahir was caught on the boundary.

His 47 runs came from 28 balls. Banton now has scored 487 runs this tournament making comparisons between Jos Buttler and AB de Villiers justified.

The Somerset innings looked a completely different story from this point with nine overs of spin making a seemingly flat Oval pitch harder to play than the dustiest of subcontinental wickets.

Swiftly after Banton’s dismissal, quick work behind the stumps from Ben Foakes saw James Hildreth stumped for one as the run rate dropped down to eight for the first time in the match.

Tahir looked like an entirely different bowler to the man who was taken for eleven off the first over of the game. First a sharp low catch diving forward dismissed Azam for 37. Three balls later a much simpler catch off his own bowling gave Tahir his second wicket as Byrom fell for three as Somerset were reduced to 94-4.

Spin continued to work for Surrey as Batty took a second wicket as Tom Abell was stumped attempting a reverse sweep before Tahir trapped Roelof Van der Merwe lbw leaving Somerset 114-6. 

Spin seemed so effective on this wicket that Finch completed his bowling debut for Surrey in any T20 blast competition, bowling an over of left arm off spin.

Tahir finished with figures of 4-25 taking 4-14 in his last three overs.

A perfectly placed back foot drive through the covers from Abell gave Somerset hope as the hundred was brought up. That was possibly the last glimmer of hope for Somerset. 

Wickets continued to fall and they just about completed their twenty overs. Nine wickets fell for 69 runs – the third time Somerset have lost nine wickets for less than 75 runs this tournament.

In response, Surrey looked nothing but dominant. Although Mark Stoneman fell on the last ball of the powerplay for 18 his opening partner Finch (who already had three sixes to his name at this stage) was just getting started. 

In the third over Finch hit his first six out of the stadium. Two more quickly followed straight down the ground before he was gifted a fourth six as Craig Overton put down an easy chance at the cow corner boundary, tipping it over the rope for six. This proved a costly mistake.

While Surrey’s spinners made it look impossible to bat, Finch had no issue facing Somerset’s slow bowlers. Two sixes in an over off Van der Merwe saw him bring up his fifty off 28 balls.

Waller was then switch hit for six in the next. At this stage it was a challenge to track where Finch hit the ball. Sam Curran following for nine was pretty much neglected by Surrey fans as it meant that Finch would be back on strike.

A well placed backward drive for four and a delicate late cut down to the third man boundary proved Finch impossible to bowl to.

His hundred came off 52 balls including nine sixes and five fours. There was no him stopping at that point.

At the other end, Jacks drove Van der Merwe through the covers to score consecutive boundaries before being swiftly dismissed by the same bowler.

Finch’s tenth six of the innings brought the scores level and a scrambled single from Clark saw Surrey win in 16.3 overs. 

“The way our spinners bowled in that middle period, to drag it back so we were chasing that 150 mark was really crucial,” Finch said.

“Imran 4-25, Batty 2-24 did an outstanding job to put a hold on Somerset towards the back end of the innings. They’ve stood up in difficult circumstances to in batters and that really makes a difference.

“It would have been nice [to get some runs] earlier in the tournament but it was nice to hit a few in the middle. The last couple of weeks I’ve been improving and batting well so it’s just been a case of putting it all together in the middle.”


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