Mullaney and Patel primed to claim plaudits for Notts
Mullaney could also star
Nottinghamshire v Surrey
Sky Sports 2, 11am Saturday
Two years ago, Surrey edged out Nottinghamshire in a thrilling home One-Day Cup semi-final featuring 596 runs and bookmakers are anticipating another compelling clash across London at Lord’s.
Most firms struggle to separate the sides and Surrey, bidding to make it third time lucky in the county showpiece final, have certainly upped their game in the knockout rounds after a sluggish start to the 50-over tournament.
In their playoff, Kumar Sangakkara was effectively the slayer of Yorkshire for a second straight year when a typically cultured 121 underpinned a total of 313-7. But the contributions of Ben Foakes with the bat and Ravi Rampaul, Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach with the ball should not be overlooked.
Most of these players flourished again in their semi-final at New Road against North Group winners Worcestershire, although England opener Jason Roy and skipper Gareth Batty grabbed the headlines.
However, Notts have been simply sensational with the bat in the knockout stages after scraping through with assistnace from a no result and Durham’s two-point deduction.
The Outlaws went to Taunton and hammered 429-9 with Brendan Taylor belting 154, ably assisted by Riki Wessels, Michael Lumb and Samit Patel. Three days later, they went to Essex and completed a county-record chase of 371 without slipping behind the asking rate, even after the galling run-out of a purring Taylor for 62.
Punters who followed Racing Post Sport’s ante-post advice of Surrey will probably want a saver on Notts after Batty’s charges failed to post a testing total for Warwickshire. In 2014, Surrey were seemingly in control against Gloucestershire after keeping them to 220 only to subside to a six-run defeat from 143-2 with Sangakkara at the crease.
However, with one England seamer Jake Ball ruled out for the Outlaws and another, Stuart Broad, battling to be fit after a heel injury, the best-value betting approach for all looks to be man-of-the match outlays on their heroes from Chelmsford, Patel and Steven Mullaney.
Patel has smashed 532 runs in nine innings in this tournament and at Chelmsford he overcame the mix-up with Taylor and then defied cramp to see Notts over the line with 122. His slow-left arm spin accounted for the key wickets of Alastair Cook and Peter Trego in their knockout battles and he has walloped 247 in a four-day game since.
Mullaney went into overdrive at number six against Essex, making 111 off 75 balls and clearing the ropes on six occasions. However, with Surrey’s seam and swing attack in good health, it may be that a knock more attuned to his four-day opener role is needed.
S Patel man of the match
1pt 10-1 general
S Mullaney man of the match
1pt 20-1 general
Surrey to win One-Day Cup
3pts 8-1 bet365, BoyleSports, Hills (April 27)