BY MARCUS HOOK
Surrey’s Sam Curran celebrated his recall to England’s white-ball fold with figures of 4-14 as the South Londoners made it back-to-back victories to start the Vitality Blast.
Surrey overcame Gloucestershire in a low-scoring clash at the Oval on Tuesday night.
They host Hampshire tonight.
Surrey followed up a four-wicket success over Glamorgan last Friday with a 37-run victory against Gloucestershire in midweek.
“It was a really good win and to start this year’s competition with two wins from our first two games makes it a very happy dressing room,” said Curran.
“We actually thought we were a little bit below par with the bat, after such a great start, and perhaps we misjudged the conditions a bit in the latter half of our innings. But then we put in a great performance with the ball and were able to defend that total in the end, which now gives us real momentum.”
With the contest reduced to 16 overs per side by the weather, Surrey mustered just 129 before skittling out Gloucestershire for 92.
Despite losing the toss, Will Jacks struck 51 from 33 balls for the hosts in a remarkable game that was then totally dominated by the bowlers.
Jacks, in tandem with Jason Roy – also named in England’s squad for this month’s ODI series against the Netherlands – got Surrey off to a flying start by plundering 60 runs from the first 27 balls.
But Gloucestershire then applied the brakes, thanks to former Surrey slow-left armer Tom Smith, who took 3-13. The Bristolians were unable to back it up, however. Two wickets for Curran soon reduced the visitors to 18-4 in reply.
Ryan Higgins and skipper Jack Taylor staged a mini recovery, but when Taylor departed, caught at long-on off Keiron Pollard to end the ninth over, Gloucestershire’s hopes went with him.
“The boys are playing good cricket and we’re full of confidence,” said Curran, who suffered a stress fracture of the back at the end of last year and has played exclusively as a batter for much of the new season.
“The most important thing is to be fit and back bowling after a long winter. The body’s feeling good and, moving forward, I’m now able to play a full part.
“I’m getting stronger and taking things carefully. But I’m getting more and more confident with every game and now I’m trying to build to the Netherlands series.”
Also joining Curran and Roy in England’s 14-man ODI squad for the trip (June 17-22) is Reece Topley, who missed the second half of Surrey’s 2021 campaign with a side strain.
Topley set the tone with the ball against Gloucestershire, by breaking through Miles Hammond’s defences, and rounded off a good night for the Oval outfit by taking the final wicket – that of Naseem Shah, caught at long-on by Jason Roy.
“It was another great turnout by the fans, who had to watch a bit of rain, but who gave us great support right to the end,” said Curran.
“We’ve had a great start to the year in all formats, in the four-day stuff as well. Gareth Batty [Surrey’s head coach] has spoken about bringing that momentum into the T20 which we have.
“To be learning from the likes of Keiron Pollard and Sunil Narine, these big overseas stars who have come to play with us, is great. The schedule’s pretty intense, but it’s always fun when you’re winning.”
Sunil Narine, who arrived in SE11 as the most economical bowler in this year’s Indian Premier League, and has backed that up by conceding just 4.25 runs per over for Surrey in the opening two games of the Blast. The next best in the competition is Matthew McKiernan’s 5.42 for Derbyshire.
Reece Topley’s superb, leaping catch at short fine leg, to see the back of Kiran Carlson in Surrey’s opening T20 clash with Glamorgan last Friday.
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD