Surrey have looked world-beaters with Finch – and second-best without him

BY MARCUS HOOK

If, as seems likely, Surrey bow out of the Blast at the group stage tonight for the ninth time in 12 seasons, the powers that be at the Oval will be as frustrated as anyone – frustrated that some of the Oval outfit’s best 20-over performances have been off the scale.

It was a similar story in this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup – the only difference being that when Surrey were good in the 50-over competition they were very good and when they were bad they were very, very bad.

The Oval outfit have competed in every game in the Blast but in the hardest-fought encounters, what has eluded them is finding a way of getting over the line.

With Aaron Finch in the side, Surrey have looked like world-beaters; without him they have lacked that killer instinct, especially with the bat.

The absence of a proven second spin option has been their undoing with the ball.

If we’re being frank about it, that comes down to the decision to go for two batsmen in terms of filling the overseas slots.

Maybe an Imran Tahir, who has transformed Durham, or Rashid Khan – rampant for Sussex – should have been the way to go.

One thing to emerge from Ollie Pope’s international debut were reports that his £12,500 match fee for not being a centrally contracted England player represented a significant percentage of his annual salary.

When the dust settles on the 2018 season, one of Alec Stewart’s top priorities will be renegotiating the 20-year-old’s contract, even though the current one still has two years to run.


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