Finals day ended much too prematurely for anyone involved with Surrey.
By 3.30pm we were back at the hotel catching the afternoon football. It was majorly disappointing. We had played good cricket throughout our t20 campaign, sure there were close moments along the way but that’s t20.
In the semi against Birmingham we just didn’t hit our straps. They scored 194 in their 20 overs and at half way I felt that was about 20 above par. It was a good wicket but to chase down 195 is always going to be difficult, no matter how good the wicket is. Add into that the pressure of the semi final and it’s even more tricky.
If you asked me, I would say we lost it mostly in that first half. Credit must go to how William played, he came in at a time that is alien to him in t20 cricket.
Ian Bell had asked their management to open the batting, a big shout considering the success William has enjoyed with Varun Chopra at the start of their innings for the duration of the tournament. It had been the base of their ability to post good scores.
Nonetheless Bell came in and played his part well. Our chat when William came in was that we would look to capitalise during the period that he was trying to settle in, at the start he did look edgy enough but he stuck it out well and ticked along fine.
What came in the last five overs, I don’t think even he was expecting. I brought Matt Dunn back on to bowl because I was worried about Rikki Clarke’s destructive ability to play spin, it was in the back of my mind that he was the experienced player at the death and that ‘Porty’ would be looking to get him on strike. When we got ‘Clarkey’ out I thought that would save us some runs, in actual fact that was when my mate took up the mantle.
It wasn’t just any old bowlers that he was taking down here either. He was getting hold of Azhar Mahmood and Jade Dernbach, probably the two most economical death bowlers in the county circuit over the last two years. We have built our t20 game around those two closing out the last four overs for us. It threw us off for sure. Without doubt we weren’t at the top of our game in those last four overs but credit to him being able to pounce on us for being slightly off.
At the start of our innings, Jason Roy got us back into the game, we blasted 80 off the first six overs and all of a sudden we needed just over eight an over to get in to the final, at that point we were almost favourites.
Unfortunately when Jason got out we just could not keep the momentum going. It was a real shame that Jason couldn’t be rewarded for his contributions in this years competition. He deserved to be playing in the final, he deserved a winners medal, in fact.
England honours are surely just round the corner for Jason, he has been outstanding for us this year. Possibly the only way someone like Alex Hales has him covered is that he goes on to make a huge score more often than Jason. I guess that’s why they have chosen him for the One Day series against India.
Personally I think Jason is a better player, certainly a more destructive player. He has already learnt so much this year and if he could just turn that 60 odd he gets into a 90 or a hundred even a quarter of the time, then for me, it’s a no contest.
I was happy that Birmingham went on to win the final, obviously with William and Boyd in their team, I’d much rather they won it than the other two sides.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that myself and Porty had agreed to split the prize money with whoever got beaten... Let’s hope he remembers!!
So that was my second finals day in a row, let’s hope we can make it third time lucky next year.
Last week, I was hugely honoured to receive my county cap. For anyone that is unfamiliar with the system in England, you get given your cap for sustained contributions and service to the club. That’s probably the best way I can describe it. It’s notoriously hard to be capped at Surrey and in fact we started the season with only five capped players in the whole squad. Since then, Vikram Solanki, Chris Tremlett and myself have been added.
I’m not a huge one for making personal goals in anything really but last year, I wrote in whiteboard marker, the word “capped” inside my locker at the Oval. It was around this time last season actually, I knew I had been at the club a long time and that if I played well then I was a chance.
It’s a very prestigious thing and to receive it from Sir Trevor McDonald, who is our president, was extra special. I can now rub off the inside of my locker, I’ll have to think of something to replace it with.