Having confirmed their place in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals, Surrey welcome Kent to The Kia Oval as they look to shore up their position at the top of the first division of the LV= County Championship.
Things are looking rosy in the garden for Division One table-toppers Surrey, with all the batters in nick and the bowlers relentlessly hounding the opposition this season. It is no fluke they are top of the pile, having won all three of their home fixtures and drawn the two away clashes while piling on the runs.
Seven men are averaging 40 or above, and two of them are topping 100, with six centuries already compiled in five matches; and with the ball, the potency of the attack has meant head coach Gareth Batty has been able to rotate his bowlers to keep them fresh. The standouts have been Jordan Clark with 21 wickets at 25 and Jamie Overton with 13 at 24 but in truth, the pressure has been applied by the whole attack, with Dan Worrall and Colin de Grandhomme picking up crucial wickets against Northants.
Kent, on the other hand, have struggled and are propping up the table with two losses and two draws from their opening four fixtures. But that is not to say there have not been bright spots. They racked up nearly 600 against Essex in the season opener, with hundreds for Ben Compton and Jordan Cox, and then Compton scored twin hundreds in a bruising 10-wicket defeat to Lancashire, almost carrying his bat in both innings.
Despite Daniel Bell-Drummond hitting a hundred, they were then beaten by an innings by Hampshire, who racked up over 650, and then in their most recent game Yorkshire hit 571 and it took bad light to stop the White Rose’s victory charge.
So it has been a tale of plenty of runs – Ben Compton is currently the secondhighest run scorer in Division One with 560 – but not enough wickets. Indeed, the Kent attack has taken only 37 in four matches. But this is a rivalry where form goes out of the window and Surrey will know they must be on their guard. Nothing will be taken for granted.
Sam Billings (c)
Ollie Robinson (wk)
Last season: 1st in Division Three
Director of cricket: Paul Downton
Head coach: Matt Walker
Captain: Sam Billings
Overseas: George Linde, Jacob Duffy (June), Matt Henry (July-Sept)
In: Matt Quinn (Essex), Ben Compton (Nottinghamshire), Toby Pettman (Nottinghamshire, loan)
P W L D Tie
Home 143 64 26 51 2
Away 140 42 43 55 0
Total 283 106 69 106 2
Last Three Matches v Kent:
July 7-10, 2019 at the Kia Oval: Surrey 271(9) (D Elgar 63, BT Foakes 60, HW Podmore 3-42, G Stewart 3-84, ME Milnes 3-54) & 218 (Elgar 65, DI Stevens 5-60, Milnes 4-61) lost to Kent 369 (Z Crawley 69, JL Denly 88, DJ Bell-Drummond 64, HG Kuhn 54, SM Curran 3-56, R Clarke 3-64) & 124-5 (OG Robinson 51*) by 5 wickets
August 22-25, 2020 at the Kia Oval: Kent 342 (G Stewart 58, SM Curran 3-85, AW Finch 4-69) & 127 (Curran 4-39, R Clarke 5-20) beat Surrey 278 (BT Foakes 118, HW Podmore 3-61, DI Stevens 3-45) & 174 (BT Foakes 57, Stevens 4-41, ME Milnes 4-57) by 17 runs
May 12-15, 2022 at County Ground, Beckenham: Surrey 671-9 dec (RS Patel 76, OJD Pope 96, BT Foakes 91, J Overton 93, SM Currran 78, C de Grandhomme 66, J Clark 54*, NN Gilchrist 3-121) drew with Kent 230 (OG Robinson 71, WG Jacks 4-65, J Overton 3-33) & 114-1 (BG Compton 63*)
First-class in total: Surrey players: HM Amla 18,974 runs J Clark 4 5wI J Overton 1,872 runs DJ Worrall 247 wkts; Kent players: DJ Bell-Drummond 6,907 runs SW Billings 196 dismissals JL Denly 29 100s JA Duffy 913 runs, 9 5wI NN Gilchrist 45 wkts ME Milnes 4 5wI MR Quinn 147 wkts OG Robinson 4 100s DI Stevens 591 wkts. First-class for Surrey: HM Amla 1,872 runs, 4 100s J Clark 838 runs; First-class for Kent: Bell-Drummond 6,823 runs, ct 49 SW Billings 2,870 runs BG Compton 988 runs, 4 100s DI Stevens 34 100s G Stewart 957 runs. First-class for season: BG Compton 988 runs, 4 100s.