Twenty-one-year-old plays vital innings to post competitive total
Lord’s: Somerset 214 all out off 39.2 overs (Buttler 86; Dernbach 4-30) v Surrey
So much for the idea that players need rest and detailed preparation for a big game. The two stand-out performances in the first half of this CB40 final came from players who were on England one-day duty in Cardiff yesterday.
Somerset batsman Jos Buttler, who was not in England’s starting XI having been called into the squad following the injury to Ben Stokes, at least had a more leisurely trip from Wales. The earliest Jade Dernbach could have left Cardiff would have been around 11pm following England’s Duckworth-Lewis victory over India.
Without Buttler Somerset would have been sunk. On a pitch previously for the one-day international here last Sunday, they were too gung-ho against Surrey’s canny and unconventional attack that contained five spinners (four of which were used).
Buttler came in at 79 for 5 and his first task was to rescue the innings from oblivion which he achieved with a half-century containing only four boundaries. And then as the overs ran out he reverted to his A-game and tried to clear the ropes with a series of innovative swats and flicks.
Jockeying around the crease at the death he heaved Yasir Arafat over the mid-wicket boundary as Matt Spriegel leapt but could only tip the ball over the bar, so to speak.
Dernbach did for his new England squad colleague in the final over as he stepped away to make room again. Dernbach was excellent, showing again his ability at the business end of the limited-over format. There are doubts on the circuit about his four-day qualities but what he may lack in metronomic consistency he more than makes up for in variety and trickery. And he clearly loves the stage.
Buttler, who has just turned 21, scored 60 more runs than Somerset’s next top-scorer. Their total of 214 does not look enough but it’s a great deal more respectable than it could have been.
Surrey are a mostly young, quite fiery side. If put under pressure with early wickets by Somerset’s more experienced bowlers it will be interesting to see how they cope. But for the west-country faithful, the mid-innings emotion was one of hope rather than expectation.
John Stern is a former editor of The Cricketer
Follow him on Twitter @Cricketer_John