After a less than ideal start, Surrey performed an incredible turnaround in the second half of the truncated campaign to reach the 2020 Vitality Blast final.
That turnaround consisted of nine consecutive Vitality Blast victories that took us all the way from winless in the South Group through to the Edgbaston final of the competition.
It wasn’t to be in the rain-affected season finale as Notts Outlaws won the 16-over fixture. Now, we’re looking to go one better in 2021. Check out the 2021 fixtures here!
Route to the final
How did Surrey turn it around in 2020? Well, it’s in part thanks to our Members.
That first victory came against Hampshire at The Kia Oval with 2,500 Members allowed in. That 2,500 became the only cricket fans in the UK to watch live cricket in 2020 and they gave us all a clear indication of what we’d missed, cheering every moment like a crowd ten times its size. We got over the line in that fixture and a tense, low-scoring London Derby that followed two days later.
A final ball boundary from Gus Atkinson won a big scoring match at Essex then a London Derby was completed at Lord’s. A wobble in the next clash with Sussex was straightened out by Jamie Overton to guarantee our quarter-final place. Thrashings of Hampshire and Kent saw us take top spot in our six-team South Group.
Kent were our opponents again in the quarter-final after a delay for the Bob Willis Trophy final. Fifties for Roy & Amla and four top order wickets for Jacks sealed the Finals Day place. A rainy day on Finals Day saw everyone return the following day and agree to 11-over semi-finals and a 16-over final.
Gloucestershire made 73 from their 11 overs and a Ben Foakes & Rory Burns partnership won it for Surrey with eight balls remaining.
Batters stick their hand up
It was very much a team effort with the bat across the tournament, with 1686 runs largely split between four top order batsmen. Will Jacks (309) & Hashim Amla (271) opened for much of the competition with Laurie Evans (363) proving something of a catalyst at three after his loan deal from Sussex. Jason Roy returned from England’s international bubble for the last five games and accumulated 206 runs.
Outside of those, there were important contributions from the likes of Ben Foakes & Jamie Smith in the Kia Oval London Derby, Gus Atkinson at Essex, Jamie Overton to guarantee the final eight place & Rory Burns in the semi-final.
Bowlers hit their mark
After taking a while to become a settled unit, the combined lineup of Reece Topley, Liam Plunkett, Daniel Moriarty, Gareth Batty, Will Jacks and Gus Atkinson became central to our progress.
Often opening up before making way for the seamers in the rest of the powerplay, Jacks’ standing as an all-rounder grew immeasurably after his 13 wickets.
It was fellow spinner Moriarty who was Surrey’s leading wicket taker in the competition with 17, capable of beating both the outside and inside edge with his slow left-arm. Player-coach and stand-in captain Gareth Batty has more years than Jacks & Moriarty combined and proved he can still walk the walk he has done in county cricket for more than two decades now, taking 10 wickets.
Topley took 15 wickets in 11 appearances while Plunkett claimed seven in six games. By the end of the competition, they were undoubtedly our first seam options but Atkinson (7), Matt Dunn (4), Rikki Clarke, James Taylor & Overton (1) also put the yards in.
Well drilled fielding plans
New Head Coach Vikram Solanki drew up a detailed game plan going in to the competition and it became clear very quickly that every player on the field knew their role. If a player missed out and was replaced, their replacement enjoyed a smooth transition.
The confidence and energy bred by a winning team who have strong plans in place bore fruit with the quality of ground fielding and catching on display, including the stunner on the boundary rope from Rory Burns.
Rory on the slip ‘n’ slide out by the rope!
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) September 3, 2020
Can we go one better in 2021? Only time will tell! Check out our 2021 fixtures and make sure you’re at The Kia Oval to see us this summer!