Surrey vs Hampshire – T20

Thursday 2nd June 2022 – The Vitality T20 Blast – The Oval, London

Unlike Tuesday night there were no concerns about the weather for Surrey’s fourth game in this season’s T20 Blast. The sun has parked itself over London for the day, bathing the royal jubilee revellers as the country celebrated Her Majesty’s 70th anniversary on the throne with BBQs and booze – which she would have wanted. And to cap off a glorious British Summer’s day, how about a spot of T20 action?

Naturally, if you had enjoyed your day in the Mall, or even at the Test match at Lords you might be in a jolly mood and fancied a spot of T20 at The Oval? Absolutely – that’ll be £40 for you sir. Yep, having not heeded any of the lessons of the empty seats in the first two games, tonight’s walk up price was £1 an over, or £40 to give it the full eye-popping number. Granted, you would have seen a few of the best T20 players strutting their stuff in the evening sunshine but even still, that’s an eyebrow raising price and unfortunately once again the stands, Members Pavilion excepted, were awash with empty seats.

Hampshire won the toss and like Gloucestershire on Tuesday, put Surrey into bat. Three balls in and Jason Roy had been removed, bowled all ends up by skipper Liam Dawson who had decided to open the bowling with spin. It was a brief moment of joy in an otherwise painful twenty overs for the visitors though.

There are few more in-form T20 players in England at the moment than Will Jacks and Sam Curran. Jacks followed up his half-century from Tuesday night with a thirty-ball 50, which included four huge sixes. Not to be outdone at the other end, Curran plundered a similar 50 as the two put on 131 in just 12 overs before they both holed out to Crane off the bowling of Dawson. Sunil Narine then provided the entertainment, with his fifty coming off just 21 balls.

Surrey never dropped the early run rate, eventually finishing their innings on 228-4, which included 16 fours and 16 sixes. With sponsors Kia putting up a £1k prize for any sixes caught in the crowd, not one of the 16 found a safe pair of hands.

Hampshire knew that a run rate of more than 11 an over would be tough and Nick Gubbins second ball dismissal, caught in a leisurely way by Pollard at mid-wicket, made matters worse. But a 50 run partnership between Ben McDermott and Tom Prest in just 25 balls saw the visitors on top of the run rate for a brief moment in time before Sam Curran removed them both, then Aneurin Donald for good measure in just five balls. When Weatherley departed in the next over, Hampshire were 60-5, still ahead of the run rate but with the batting power all back in the pavilion.

James Fuller put up some strong resistance, scoring 43 off 34 balls but he became Curran’s fifth victim with the score on 134 and it was only a matter of time before the final wicket fell, Crane being caught off the bowling of Topley.

A crushing defeat by 72 runs as Surrey made it four out of four thanks to a powerful batting performance. There was no shortage of action for the crowd, with 23 sixes and 29 fours to go with the 14 wickets – with the sunshine lighting up the Oval late into the night it was just a shame more weren’t in the ground to witness it.

This could be a season to remember for Surrey, let’s just hope the rethink the ticket price policy and play out their final home games in front capacity crowds.

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