Published: 4th October, 2020
Surrey advanced to the Vitality Blast final with a six-wicket win over Gloucestershire in a low-scoring first semi-final at Edgbaston.
In an 11-over match, Gloucestershire were restricted to 73 for seven by a superb bowling display led by Liam Plunkett (2-0-12-3) and Will Jacks (2-0-5-1).
Surrey were, in turn, made to work hard for runs but reached 74 for four with eight balls to spare as Ben Foakes compiled a timely 20 (20 balls, no fours, one six).
After the loss of the whole of Saturday to rain, play finally began at 3.15pm thanks to an improvement in the weather and also a Herculean effort by the Edgbaston groundstaff.
Put in, Gloucestershire suffered a nightmare start, reaching the end of a truncated 3.2 overs powerplay on only 12 for one. Miles Hammond had already sent up a skier off Reece Topley and then, first ball after the powerplay, danger man Ian Cockbain miscued a hit at Will Jacks and perished for a duck.
Jacks conceded just five runs from his two excellent opening overs from the Birmingham End.
Chris Dent at least found the boundary a couple of times but fell for 17 (13 balls) when he skied a slog-sweep at Dan Moriarty and Jason Roy took a calm catch at mid-wicket.
Gloucestershire desperately needed impetus but the seventh over, which saw Plunkett enter the attack, only brought them more trouble. It brought just three runs and the wicket of Jack Taylor, caught by Jacks at mid on.
Ryan Higgins (19, 14 balls) perished at the start of Plunkett’s second over which brought two more wickets. Benny Howell was the second when his defiant 21 (12 balls), which included the only two sixes of the innings, ended in pursuit of the third with another smart low catch by Jacks at long on.
At a nightmare 66 for six after ten overs, Gloucestershire needed a big final over. It didn’t come and the staccato innings was summed up by the last ball from Topley which Graeme van Buuren hoisted straight to deep extra cover.
Jacks and Roy launched Surrey’s reply with three fours in the first over, from van Buuren, but Gloucestershire fought tigerishly. Roy fell to a brilliant catch by Howell, taken over his shoulder at mid-wicket, and Jacks (16, 11 balls) was bowled by a full toss by David Payne.
When Laurie Evans chopped Howell to point, in an over that cost just three runs, it was 41 for three from six overs and Surrey had work still to do. But red ball Rory Burns is an accomplished batsman to have coming in at five and he delivered a calm unbeaten 12 from nine balls as Foakes struck a run-a-ball 20 and Surrey reached their target with more than an over to spare.
Surrey will now face the winner of the second semi-final, being played between Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.