Match Preview: Surrey v Essex Eagles


Surrey v Essex Eagles

Vitality Blast
The Kia Oval
Monday 21 June
6:30pm start


Essex Eagles are in Vitality Blast action once again when they make the trip to the capital city tonight to engage Surrey at The Kia Oval with the match scheduled to get underway at 6:30pm.

The Eagles suffered their fourth defeat in six matches when they lost to Kent Spitfires on Sunday. Having won their opening match at Taunton, the Eagles only other point in this year’s competition came from the washed-out fixture with Gloucestershire on Friday.

Surrey have also been frustrated by the weather after victories in each of their first three matches. The game with Sussex Sharks on Thursday was abandoned after only five overs had been bowled and the following night, the intended clash with Hampshire Hawks was abandoned without a ball bowled.

The home side will be missing a number of players. Sam Curran, Tom Curran and Jason Roy have joined up with England’s white-ball squad ahead of the forthcoming series with Sri Lanka. Ollie Pope is unavailable due to self-isolation having come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Reece Topley and Sean Abbott are ruled out through injury together with Liam Plunkett and Nico Reifer whilst James Taylor, Gus Atkinson and Nick Kimer are recovering from viral illnesses.


McGrath’s View:

Anthony McGrath was forthright in his assessment of The Eagles latest defeat.

“When a team starts off and gets to 100 odd without losing a wicket, you are up against it,” the Head Coach said. “ We fought back a little bit but in the end, 230-odd is always going to be a big chase.

“At the moment, we are either not batting well or not bowling well and are not putting it together.

“So we have to find solutions and pretty quickly.

“We went with the extra batter, made a couple of changes and altered the balance of the team.

“Nobody wants to lose, the fans and Members want us to win and we want to win and there is no one more disappointed than the players and the coaches.

“It’s not going well at the moment and we’ve lost four in a row apart from the rained-off game but it’s only the guys in the dressing room that can change things around.

“We’ve had five or six excellent years and the Essex fans have been spoilt for trophies but at the moment we are in a little trough, which can happen now and again, and we need everyone to get behind us.

“Believe me, everyone’s trying their best and working as hard as possible to put things right and a lot of work has gone in but at the moment, we are not showing that out on the pitch.

“But we’ve got to come back on Monday at The Kia Oval and hopefully get that win on the board.”

Injury/Absentees News:

The Eagles have named an unchanged 14-man squad for the fixture with Surrey.


Coach: Vikram Solanki
Captain: Jade Dernbach
Last Year’s Performance: Runners-up
2020 Leading Runscorer: Laurie Evans (363 @ 45.37)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Dan Moriarty (17 @ 18.29)
Overseas players: Hashim Amla.

Key Man: Will Jacks

The talented 22-year-old had a standout Blast last year, hitting 309 runs at a strike rate of almost 150 and taking 13 wickets with his off-spin at only 16 runs apiece and an impressive economy rate of 6.46.

Flies under the radar: Laurie Evans

Now 33, the former Warwickshire and Sussex batsman returned to his native Surrey last year and has quietly built a fine white-ball record, with 3,624 career T20 runs.

Blast Expectations:

Very high. Beaten by Nottinghamshire Outlaws in the floodlit final at a dew-soaked Edgbaston last year, Surrey’s squad now looks even stronger – particularly in the early games when their England white-ball players Jason Roy and the Curran brothers are available. Injuries to quicks Reece Topley and Sean Abbott have ruled both out of the competition – a pair of untimely blows in the past week.


The clash at The Kia Oval last year ended in a nail-biting tie. The Eagles posted 143-6 after being put into bat with Ryan ten Doeschate and Adam Wheater supplying the chief contributions with 35 and 32 respectively including a partnership of 57 after the visitors had been 52-4.

At 116-5 and with former Essex man Ben Foakes showing good form, Surrey appeared on course for victory needing only a further 28 from 24 balls. The target was down to 9 at the start of the final over and 8 runs were accrued from the next four balls. But Foakes was then caught on the boundary by Paul Walter off Matt Quinn for 44.

Amidst high tension, James Taylor failed to connect with the final delivery and Adam Wheater collected the ball and appealed for a stumping.

Meanwhile, Matt Dunn had set off from the non-striker’s end like a greyhound out of the traps and had already ran the length of the pitch and beyond when the umpire turned down the wicket-keeper’s plea. Wheater then responded to Simon Harmer’s call to throw the ball to the vacant crease as Taylor belatedly set off for the run only to be left stranded well out his ground as the Eagles Captain removed the bails and the match was tied.

That match has proved the only tie between the two teams in the competition with Essex prevailing in 17 matches and Surrey 11 times whilst one match was declared a no-result and another abandoned.

How To Watch:

There will be a Live Stream service from The Kia Oval, which will be broadcasting ahead of play from 7pm via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

Access via the Essex Cricket Matchzone is available here.