BY MARCUS HOOK
Aaron Finch took a well-earned break in Berlin this week after igniting Surrey’s Blast campaign with a record-breaking 131 not out against Sussex.
The 31-year-old Australian master blaster, the world’s number one ranked T20 international batsman, struck seven sixes and 10 fours in the win at Hove – 24 hours after his 58 on returning to the Oval had contributed to an impressive victory over Essex.
“It was nice to put in a match-winning performance and help us to another good win,” said Finch. “Our bowlers did an outstanding job and it was a really good polished performance by us.
“From a distance, the pitch looked an absolute road, but it turned out to be quite low and slow. The first 50 runs were quite tough, but I was pleased with how I got through that and cashed in.
“Credit to Ollie Pope at the end too, he played some great shots, we ran hard and I got a bit of the strike!”
Finch’s fifth T20 ton was the highest score made by a Surrey batsman in short form cricket, but he was still grateful for the chance to give his body a rest after a gruelling schedule in recent months that has included ODI and T20 series against England and a tri-series in Harare, against Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
“This week’s break has come at a really good time for me and some other of our players,” said Finch. “My body’s certainly feeling it and with all the travelling around the world we’ve done since Amy and I got married in April.
“With all the cricket she’s had to watch, the least my wife deserves is a short break in Berlin. It’s a place we’ve never been to before.
“I ducked off to the IPL literally the day after we got married and the schedule since has been pretty hectic. It is good to recharge the batteries a little, both mentally and physically, and then we’ll be able as a team to launch ourselves into the second half of the Blast.
“The one thing the IPL does teach you, though, is how to make sure you can get yourself up mentally for every game. There are times when you get home from a game at 1.30 in the morning, you’re up at 8am to travel to the next match and then you play the following day. That happens quite a lot, so it’s a case of making sure you are as fresh as you can be going into each game.
“For me, when I am playing a lot like that, it generally means not too much training and keeping yourself mentally and physically fresh. Yes, momentum is nice when you’re playing well but you still need those breaks.”
Finch returned to the club after hitting a near world-record 172 in a T20 tri-series game against Zimbabwe. There was also an explosive short-form innings of 84 against Eoin Morgan’s England white-ball team last month and, in an overall T20 career of 228 matches so far, Finch’s strike rate is a remarkable 142 per 100 balls.
He has certainly wasted no time in reminding Surrey’s supporters of how important he is at the top of their T20 batting order, with all-rounder Rikki Clarke saying: “It gives us such confidence having Finchy going in first, especially given all he has already done for us in the last two years in T20 cricket.”
First, though, against Kent at Canterbury tonight, Surrey play their fifth Blast fixture – hoping that Finch is suitably refreshed and continues where he left off at Hove.
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