Surrey came out on top in the NatWest T20 Blast against Somerset at the Kia Oval courtesy of a 15-run win in front of a 25,500 full house.
Spinners Gareth Batty and Zafar Ansari put a mid-innings stranglehold on Somerset’s reply to Surrey’s total of 154 for 8, and in the closing overs Jade Dernbach and Tom Curran also rose to the challenge of defending what had seemed to be a below-par score with a mix of slower balls, yorkers and other variations. Somerset finished on 139 for 6.
Australian batsman Aaron Finch hit 51 from just 26 balls, with three sixes and five fours, to give Surrey’s innings a blistering start after Somerset had opted to bowl first. Jason Roy got out cheaply early on and when Finch fell in the eigth over Surrey’s innings lost its way against some excellent Somerset bowling in which Josh Davey was outstanding with figures of 3 for 20 from his four overs.
Dominic Sibley and Ansari were Davey’s other scalps and when South African all-rounder Chris Morris chipped a return catch to Jamie Overton to go for eight, Somerset were right back in the game with Surrey 120 for 6 deep into the 16th over.
The Curran brothers, Tom and Sam, tried their best to get Surrey’s total up to something defendable but when Mahela Jayawardene swept Somerset to 71 for 2 after seven overs the visitors looked favourites.
Dernbach’s 3 for 32, however, and identical four-over spells of one for 20 from both Batty and Ansari turned the game back Surrey’s way and when Lewis Gregory hit the last ball of the 19th over, a full toss from Dernbach, straight to deep mid wicket where Tom Curran took a fine catch above his head, Somerset’s last chance had gone and the task of scoring 18 runs from the last over to tie was always going to be beyond them.
Straight after the match Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “It was very disappointing and after the first six overs of their innings I thought that we got ourselves back into the match brilliantly. Our fielding was outstanding throughout. We bowled smartly and bowled to a plan and I was very pleased that they only scored 154 here with a short boundary one side and the wind going that way.
“When we batted we had a great start and after 10 overs we needed just more than six a a half an over and it looked a bit of a canter, but we got stuck there in the middle and lost a couple of wickets at important times.
“Hats off to Surrey. I thought that the way they bowled in the last four overs was terrific. There were plenty of yorkers and clever slower balls and they made it difficult for our guys. Maybe we should have pushed on a little bit in the 13th and 14th, but when you are a little bit low in confidence then these things can happen.”
Matt talked specifically about Josh Davey who claimed three wickets this evening. “Josh bowled really well,” he said. “He came in and hit the wicket hard. He got Roy out in the fourth over and then came back and bowled really well for us so I am really pleased for him. He has been bowling good areas and hitting the seam for the Seconds and not always taking the wickets he deserves and he bowled nicely against Pakistan last week. He is in a good place with his game and showed that tonight.”
Matt added: “We know that’s the end of our campaign this year and we need to have a full review when the emotions have died down and then have a look at areas where we need to get better for next year, there is no doubt about that.”