Surrey 363 for 7 (Roy 92, Foakes 86, Sangakkara 73) beat Worcestershire 210 (Whiteley 55, D’Oliveira 53, Batty 5-40) by 153 runs
Initially, there was a bit of head shaking from Jason Roy, the odd pout and a sense that he was not entirely satisfied with his game. Meanwhile, the ball kept whistling to the boundary. An unproductive IPL, sixty-eight runs in his last nine ODI innings, omission for the semi-final of the Champions Trophy and the dejection of an England exit was not designed to fill him with joy.
His internal struggle for perfection, however, could not disguise the fact that the form which has eluded him for months was seeping back: 92 from 81 balls by the time he fell lbw to the fiddly cutters of Daryl Mitchell. Surrey wallowed in it; Worcestershire melted before it.
“It showed it could have been a different story at Cardiff,” said Surrey’s captain Gareth Batty, with a loyal and pointed implication – so very Surrey – that England should have stuck with him. “He is a wonderful talent. We will have him back every day of the week.”
The upshot was a Surrey stroll in the semi-final of the Royal London Cup, Worcestershire dispensed with by 153 runs and a date with Nottinghamshire in the final at Lord’s on July 1 awaits. It will be their third successive Lord’s final, they have not done themselves justice in the last two, and they will need to be at their best to see off Notts. It is a mouthwatering prospect.
Surrey’s 363 for 7 felt like a winning score, but not by such an extraordinary margin. Batty will be most satisfied about that. Not for the first time, he got a bit of bird from Worcestershire’s supporters – he was roundly abused when he first returned to his former county back in 2010. Then, he took issue with a spectator. Seven years on, he just contented himself with taking 5 for 40, his best List A figures for Surrey, and didn’t even bother with his final over. Surely he is not mellowing?
Frankly, Batty’s spell could not have been more of a piece of cake had he delivered slices of Victoria Sponge served up by the happy band of volunteers in the Ladies Pavilion.
He was fortunate to win an lbw decision against Brett D’Oliveira on the slog-sweep when the ball pitched outside the line. Joe Clarke pushed gently outside off stump and was caught at the wicket, John Hastings perished in the deep, Ben Cox patted one to long off, Joe Leach muscled one to long on. The boos had largely subsided by then.
Worcestershire had never made such a total in List A cricket and it showed. D’Oliveira’s half-century represented their only organised resistance with the bat after they had lost three wickets in the first seven overs. Moeen Ali had made a mellifluous 36 from 23 balls before he drove an up-and-under, but “organised resistance” is not really the right phrase for it because he rarely gives the impression of much planning with the bat, merely an outpouring of natural talent until the tap turns off. Ross Whiteley also swung a lusty half-century at No. 8 to reduce the margin without really reducing the embarrassment.
Contentiously, Worcestershire were without the batting talents of Tom Kohler-Cadmore, whose admission that he was discussing an end-of-season deal with Yorkshire brought an immediate release from his contract. If that was a gamble to imbue Worcestershire with a matchwinning team spirit, it failed dismally.
With nine down, Roy, trying to save a boundary, nearly dived headlong into the covers, but escaped harm by inches. Another signal perhaps that his luck was changing.
He hoisted Hastings over square leg for a heartening six but a gentle straight drive against Leach was perhaps the first shot that convinced him his touch was back. His half-century was raised within 37 balls as Surrey, 90 in the book within 10 overs, logged the highest Powerplay of the summer.
The pitch was benign, the sun shone upon him, and shone upon some perspiring bowlers, too, none suffering more than Hastings, the burly Australian, who recorded Worcestershire’s most expensive analysis in List A cricket – 1 for 97 – and who did well to escape a hundred. Ed Barnard might also have been under pressure, had he bowled more than a single over that went for 17.
Roy was an addition to this Surrey batting line-up – Scott Borthwick’s twisted ankle in the warm-up conveniently opened up a place – but otherwise there was familiarity in Surrey’s progress.
Their defeat of Yorkshire in the playoffs at Headingley on Tuesday when they made 313 had been formulated around big innings from Kumar Sangakkara and Ben Foakes. The same pair prospered once more, Sangakkara looking set for another century until he gloved Hastings down the leg side on 73 and Foakes gathering 86 – a neat batsman whose range is gradually expanding – until he was run out in the final over.