Published: 10th July, 2018
Mat Pillans is confident Surrey can get their Vitality Blast campaign up and running this week – and he hopes to play his part.
Pillans’ performance at the Kia Oval last Friday was one of the highlights as they lost to Kent 24 hours after they were beaten in their South Group opener by Middlesex.
Two days after his 27th birthday, the 6ft 6in paceman picked up 3 for 22, having taken 17 Blast wickets during a loan spell with Leicestershire last season.
Surrey skipper Jade Dernbach was happy to give the least experienced member of his attack three of the last six overs including the last two ahead of the likes of Morne Morkel and Rikki Clarke.
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) July 6, 2018
Pillans rewarded Dernbach’s faith in him by picking up Carlos Brathwaite and Joe Denly, although by then Denly had a match-winning century to his name.
Pillans said: “As a bowling group we’ve done a lot of work before this tournament on bowling at the death and I thought we executed our skills pretty well.
“Making my debut in T20 in front of a packed crowd at the Kia Oval was a pretty special moment and the crowd were fantastic, but I just concentrated on what I had to do and being me.
“It’s about trusting yourself. I find that it over-complicates things if you start thinking about what the batsmen are going to do so I just focus on my job and hopefully Friday is the start of a good tournament for me.”
Pillans will hope he gets the opportunity to build on his performance this week in back to back games. Surrey face Essex Eagles at the Kia Oval on Thursday before playing Sussex Sharks at a sold-out Hove on Friday.
And although Curran brothers Sam, who is on England one-day duty, and Tom, absent because of a side strain, are again missing, the return of Australian pair Aaron Finch and Nic Maddinson, who were on international duty last week and missed Surrey’s opening two games, will add firepower to their batting.
Finch just missed out on setting a new T20 individual record score when he thrashed 172 from 76 balls, with 10 sixes and 16 fours, against Zimbabwe so returns for his third season at the Kia Oval in good form.
Pillans is confident Surrey will soon hit their stride. “Losing that Kent game in the way we did was a tough pill to swallow, but we just have to kick on again,” he said. “We’ve got two games this week and we’re going to come back hard. There is still a lot of cricket to play and the boys are positive.
“We were disappointed with the Kent game because at halfway we were in control and before the (Joe Denly) hat-trick our chase was going well. It’s how we react that’s important now.”
Tickets are available for Surrey’s five remaining Vitality Blast home fixtures at the Kia Oval, with entry for U16s just £1 for the matches with Glamorgan, Sussex & Hampshire.