Surrey’s defeat in the Royal London Cup semi-final on Tuesday brought an end to our List A campaign but it’s been one of great promise for a number of reasons.
With a number of players unavailable through international commitments and the ongoing The Hundred competition, this was an opportunity for the squad to prove its strength in depth.
Nine players have been at The Hundred all the way through the 50 over tournament while a further three have missed matches due to the England v India Test series. When you throw in injuries to the likes of Hashim Amla, Ben Foakes & Jamie Overton it shows how much shuffling of the pack has had to be done.
Surrey won four of the six matches that were completed in the group stage with a further two rained off, including one just two overs from a second innings long enough to constitute a victory.
A quarter-final victory over Gloucestershire at The Kia Oval set up Tuesday’s semi-final against Durham, the winners of Group 1.
That fixture ended in defeat but there was plenty for Surrey to take from the competition.
Jamie Smith’s leadership
Hashim Amla began the tournament as Surrey’s skipper, leading a young side with able assistance from a number of experienced players such as Mark Stoneman & Rikki Clarke.
When Amla sustained a groin injury midway through the group stage, the responsibility of leading the side fell to 21-year-old wicket keeper batter and Surrey Academy graduate Jamie Smith.
💬 “Lots to learn for next year”
That’s the message from stand-in skipper Jamie Smith after today.
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) August 17, 2021
Smith was only denied victory in his first match in the hot seat by the weather, two overs out from a second innings long enough to constitute a match. After defeat at Leicestershire, three consecutive wins took Surrey to the final four with Smith at the centre of it all.
Managing wicket keeping duties and the requirements of being a batter in the top six alongside your duties as captain has proven a challenge for even the most experienced of cricketers through the years so there’s no doubt Smith will have developed a lot in these few weeks.
Ryan Patel can hit it a long way
Perhaps regarded by most as more of a red-ball specialist through his career to date, Ryan Patel has proved himself capable of hitting a long ball in this tournament.
Moving along at less than a run-a-ball when the rain arrived eight overs in to our Guildford Festival meeting with Nottinghamshire, Patel returned to the Pavilion to think about how to progress. Once the clouds had parted, Patel was a new man. He hammered 131 from 70 balls with 10 sixes, finding all corners of Woodbridge Road.
A flash in the pan that was not, with 52 from 33 balls against Leicestershire and 111 from 116 balls against Derbyshire seeing him end the tournament with an average of 55.14. Patel has now hit 19 sixes in his List A career, 14 of which came this season.
Daniel Moriarty can shine in all three formats
Slow left arm bowler Moriarty has already impressed immensely in first-class and T20 cricket for Surrey but with no List A cricket in 2020, this was his first chance to prove his mettle in the 50 over game at county level.
He took that chance, claiming 15 wickets from 81.5 overs bettered only by his good friend Conor McKerr who picked up 18 wickets in 64.2 overs. His standout performance came in The Kia Oval meeting with Somerset, when he took 4/30 to halt our visitors in the second half of their innings.
Going at just 4.36 an over, he has also demonstrated the required ability to keep it tight in white-ball cricket.
With plenty of wickets under his belt in all three formats now, Moriarty will be looking to carry this form on into the coming years.
Early promise from lots of debutants
Across the tournament, 10 players made their List A debuts for Surrey. Gus Atkinson, Tim David, Matt Dunn, Ben Geddes, Nicholas Kimber, Conor McKerr, Daniel Moriarty, Nico Reifer, Cameron Steel, James Taylor all turned out in 50 over cricket for Surrey for the first time.
Big hitting Singapore international David stayed on after a couple of performances in the Vitality Blast and duly impressed, smashing two centuries in double quick time hitting 47 boundaries on the way. After initially isolating with Covid 19 after signing for the Club shortly before the Royal London Cup began, Steel came into the team and shone with the ball with 10 wickets in just 45 overs.
Young players McKerr, Moriarty & Reifer were all ever presents with McKerr and Moriarty ending up as our two leading wicket takers with 18 and 15 respectively. Reifer played some promising innings without amassing a big score but his exquisite technique is easy on the eye and could stand him in good stead in the seasons to come.
Batter Geddes looked in excellent form in the abandoned match with Somerset while Kimber & Taylor both stepped in ably when called upon. Seamers Gus Atkinson & Matt Dunn used the new ball early in the tournament before Atkinson went to The Hundred while Dunn continued and ended up with 11 wickets from 10 matches.
50 over cricket attracts the crowds
With five home matches during our run to the semi-final, there was good opportunity for fans & Members to see some List A cricket in London for the first time in more than two years.
Despite two of those matches not reaching their conclusion due to rain, The Kia Oval still welcomed strong attendances throughout the competition. For those in the ground for Sunday’s quarter-final, the atmosphere as Tim David climbed through the gears and made his century won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
A true family feel on summer’s days makes for memorable occasions.
As for Guildford, which hosted its annual Festival during this tournament, a capacity crowd of more than 3,000 saw almost 600 runs in just 60 overs including that Ryan Patel effort.