When rival captains Ian Bell and Gareth Batty toss up at Lord’s for the 2016 One-Day Cup final on Saturday morning, there will certainly be no shortage of experience.
Surrey skipper Batty, 38, will be making his 247th List A appearance against Warwickshire captain Bell, who, at 34, has already clocked up 301 matches.
The majority of Bell’s were for England, for whom he played 161 times, just one of which was as Batty’s team-mate, a victory over Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in December 2004.
But when it comes to Lord’s finals the two fair-haired Englishmen have a more comparable record.
By the time Saturday’s game is over, only seven of the most recent 16 Lord’s finals will have been played without either Batty or Bell.
Both have played in four – and both have tasted the vastly contrasting flavours of victory and defeat.
Bell just edges it at two wins and two losses to Batty’s one win and three defeats – and both can claim an extra on-field Lord’s one-day final appearance.
Batty’s came in 2001, when, in his final year at The Oval before moving to Worcestershire, he was 12th man when Surrey beat Gloucestershire in the Benson Hedges Cup final.
Bell’s first appearance on the pitch at Lord’s was also victorious – and arguably even more memorable. The current Bears captain was there, as an 11-year-old boy, to witness Warwickshire’s sensational victory over Sussex in the 1993 NatWest Trophy final, when they chased down 321 to win off the last ball.
“I was there with my family in the Grand Stand,” he recalled. “There were a lot of Sussex fans around us. They were quite chirpy for most of the day, but the day just built and built in a fantastic way.
“I remember running on to the outfield in the dark at the end. They are special memories. That day is the reason I wanted to play for Warwickshire. There was no Twenty20 then. It was unique. When I was growing up, they were big days. It was amazing to go to Lord’s and watch Warwickshire play in a final – and win.
“That game was special in so many ways. It was probably the first game of one-day cricket in the modern style. There were even reverse sweeps. I remember Martin Speight sweeping Tim Munton, there were all sorts of shots that people were seeing for the first time.”
Who’s going to come out on top?
This year’s One-Day Cup final has thrown up a meeting of the two previous losers, Warwickshire in 2014 and Surrey in 2015.
Jade Dernbach’s 6-35 for Surrey in last year’s final against Gloucestershire were his career-best ‘List A’ bowling figures – yet it was in vain as the side batting first won for only the second time in eight finals.
Chasing 221 to win, Surrey slumped from 143-2 to 214 all out after former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara was caught and bowled by Jack Taylor for 60.
“We can’t wait, it’s a massive game,” Batty told BBC Radio London. “It’s the showpiece for everybody. Hopefully we’ve learned from a couple of mistakes we made last year.
“We’ve played some very good one-day cricket this year, but I feel like we’ve still got our ‘A’ game to play, and hopefully we deliver that on Saturday.”
They face a Bears side reliant on experience, Jonathan Trott having hit three centuries on the way to Lord’s, while Bell himself masterminded the semi-final win over Somerset.
His 94 off 90 balls was a high point of a season which, after being discarded by England last winter, has brought a disappointing return of just 610 County Championship runs, 174 of which came in one innings against Hampshire.
“At the start of the season, I had a lot of starts and not really converted,” Bell told BBC WM. “And it’s not quite happened over the second half of the season.
“We’ve been inconsistent this season. But, after the disappointment of missing out on T20 Blast Finals Day, to have a chance to win a trophy at Lord’s is fantastic. Surrey are a good side but, as long as we keep putting it in, we’ve got a great chance.”
And Bell, with knocks of 65, 54, 107 and 81 in his four previous Lord’s finals, remains the Bears’ key big occasion player.
Mark Church, BBC Radio London:
“We have all had occasions where something has not gone according to plan and we have thought to ourselves ‘I’d love to have a chance to have another go at that’.
“Well, Surrey have given themselves that chance in Saturday’s final against Warwickshire. They have the opportunity to put the memory of last year’s defeat by Gloucestershire to bed. That has been the fuel that has kept them going in this year’s competition.
“Surrey’s performances have improved game by game. They were excellent against Yorkshire in the semi-final. They know they will have to be at their best against a very talented Warwickshire side but they have given themselves the chance to complete some ‘unfinished business’ at Lord’s.”
Clive Eakin, BBC Coventry Warwickshire:
“Warwickshire have saved their best performances in the second half of the season for the One-Day Cup, notably the final group match victory at Headingley and the semi-final win over Somerset.
“At the same time, in the Championship their decline has been alarming and they face a real scrap to avoid relegation in the last game of the season next week.
“The hope at Lord’s is that they can put their Championship worries behind them and secure a trophy. Like Surrey they’ll be hoping to vanquish recent Lord’s final defeats, having lost their last two, in 2012 and 2014.“
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/37231829