BY MARCUS HOOK
Will Jacks’ 4-15 with the ball inspired yet another victory for Surrey in yesterday’s Vitality Blast quarter-final against Kent at the Oval.
Jacks’ off-spin brought him personal best T20 figures and reduced Kent initially to 51-4. The hop county could only muster 113-7 in reply to Surrey’s 169-2 in which Hashim Amla (73) and Jason Roy (56) both hit controlled and classy half-centuries.
The South Londoners’ 56-run victory sets-up a semi-final tie with Gloucestershire, weather permitting, at Edgbaston tomorrow (Saturday).
Jacks, who has now bagged 10 wickets in this season’s T20 at an average of 17.20 – and is also averaging 41.42 with the bat – said taking four wickets against Kent was beyond his wildest expectations.
“Going into the game I had no idea I’d get the top four batsmen,” said the 21-year-old. “Kent’s top four are incredibly talented. Three of them have played for England and Daniel Bell-Drummond is still the leading run-scorer in this year’s competition.
“We knew they would be the key wickets going into the game. To get one, let alone four is unbelievable.
“I’ve opened the bowling in the last eight games, bowled with my field up on the off-side and two men back on the leg-side and have just looked to bowl into an area where it’s hard to hit boundaries.
“I’m not looking specifically to take wickets, just stem the flow of runs in the powerplay and try and make them do something they don’t want to do.”
Jacks credits fellow spinner Gareth Batty, who returned from a pulled hamstring to skipper Surrey, as a key factor in his and Dan Moriarty’s development this summer.
“He’s huge,” said Jacks. “It can’t be understated how important he is to Surrey. For me and Dan Moriarty, as young spinners, he’s so important.
“Dan was outstanding during the group stage, taking lots of wickets. We opened the bowling today, we worked in a partnership and I was the one lucky enough to come away with some wickets.
“But that’s what we’re about – working together – and to have Batts come on later in the game to seal the deal, there’s not many people better.”
Looking ahead to Surrey’s first T20 Finals Day appearance since 2014 – and only their second in 13 years – Jacks says it’s where the Oval outfit should be.
“It’s brilliant for the club,” said the man who sits top of the PCA player rankings for this season’s Vitality Blast. “We’ve done a complete 180 in the last month. To go from where we were during the Bob Willis Trophy into the Blast is pretty outstanding.
“Finals Day will be brilliant. It’s great to get there as one of the top four teams in the competition.
“To win it would be even better for the club, because it’s where we need to be. We know we’re a massive club. We need to be at Finals Day and we need to be competing for trophies.
“As a group, we feel we can deliver that. Eight wins in a row; two more, the two hardest ones to come. But we’ll be giving it everything. We’ll have our plans and we’ll try and execute them as best we can.”
THE FINAL FOUR
Top ranked batsman – Ian Cockbain
Top ranked bowler – Tom Smith
Top ranked all-rounder – Ryan Higgins
Best finish – Runners-up (2007)
Finals Day appearances – 2 (this will be their third)
Top ranked batsman – Alex Davies
Top ranked bowler – Tom Bailey
Top ranked all-rounder – Liam Livingstone
Best finish – Winners (2015)
Finals Day appearances – 7
Odds 15-8 favourites
Top ranked batsman – Joe Clarke
Top ranked bowler – Jake Ball
Top ranked all-rounder – Samit Patel
Best finish – Winners (2017)
Finals Day appearances – 5
Top ranked batsman – Laurie Evans
Top ranked bowler – Dan Moriarty
Top ranked all-rounder – Will Jacks
Best finish – Winners (2003)
Finals Day appearances – 6.
ALL PICTURES COPYRIGHT DAVID ROWE/ALAMY LIVE NEWS
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