We probably shouldn’t have been surprised that Surrey blew opportunity of reaching the Twenty20 Cup final at Edgbaston on Saturday, writes John Payne.
From a batting perspective, their innings followed a familiar pattern to the quarter-final. A fantastic bludgeoning innings from Jason Roy at the start followed by a loss of momentum.
Only the finish was the difference, mainly because Surrey’s performance in the field had got them into a much better position in the first place against Worcestershire.
Against Warwickshire – bizarrely rebranded as Birmingham for the competition – the bowlers had let things slip away in the last couple of overs largely due to nearly every ball in the closing stages being a full toss.
It seems unfair to pick on one player but, from a cricketing perspective, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that Kevin Pietersen didn’t live up to his billing.
Having been ignominiously axed by England in February, Pietersen has set himself up as a Twenty20 specialist.
But both against Worcestershire and Worcestershire, Pietersen was at the heart of that lack of momentum – scratching around for a few overs and getting out.
Having KP in their ranks has clearly had other benefits for Surrey. Put simply, his very presence is box office, while Roy has spoken glowingly about the help Pietersen has given him in the nets.
However, on finals day Pietersen was upstaged by his former England team mate Andrew Flintoff – even though the all-rounder had barely lifted a bat or bowled a ball during the past five years.
It is ironic after a summer in which Pietersen’s character has been dissected, that Surrey’s decision to continue their arrangement with the former England batsman or not could come purely down to whether he is delivering enough on the pitch.
If the arrangement is to be extended into next year, Surrey should be demanding more than a few Twenty20 appearances from him so he can at least play himself into some kind of form.