Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Sussex South Group 2021
Only five overs possible as unbeaten South Group sides have to share points
Surrey 53 for 2 vs Sussex – Match abandoned
Lenham, the 16-year-old legspinner, who looks not a day older than his age, was the first to shine. Lenham was born a year after the first season of the Twenty20 Cup, making him the first “Blast Baby”, and has been given first-team opportunities at the start of this season with Rashid Khan still at the Pakistan Super League. He has taken four wickets – three of them live on Sky – and conceded only 7.37 runs an over to date, but it was a stunning effort in the field that caught the eye on Thursday night.
Lenham had dropped a straightforward catch at short third man in the televised game against Hampshire last week, and when Jason Roy sent a skier over his head at short fine leg off the third ball of the match, the sensible money was on the ball. It is unlikely that a single one of the 4000 or so supporters in the ground backed Lenham to scramble 30 yards back from the edge of the ring to the boundary and settle under the catch, but with his legs whirring like the Road Runner, he managed to cover the ground while staring up into the floodlights and a gloomy Kennington sky.
Judging by his reaction when he dived under it and clung on, Lenham himself was in a state of disbelief. He set off Alan Shearer-style, his arm raised in the air, then leapt into Chris Jordan’s arms, had his hair ruffled by Phil Salt, and was lifted off his feet by Luke Wright. He is quickly becoming the young prince in a team of T20 royalty.
Tymal Mills, fit again after a back injury over the winter, steamed in from the Pavilion End and induced a false shot with his first ball, Jacks clipping a low full toss to Travis Head at short midwicket. But inconceivably, Head shelled the catch over his head, and the rest of Mills’ over was marmalised: a wide down the leg side was followed by sixes over midwicket, long-off and extra cover, before a punch through cover point, an attempted slower ball given as a wide, and a flash away through third man. The over cost 28 in all, 26 of them off Jacks’ bat.
It was a shame, then, that only two more overs were possible. Will Beer was dumped over midwicket by Laurie Evans but then trapped him lbw for his 100th career T20 wicket, and Chris Jordan conceded only two runs off the bat in the fifth, but the rain was so heavy over the next hour that the match was abandoned by 8.15pm.
The result is that the teams are joint-second in the South Group, both a point behind Kent with a game in hand, and already looked well-placed to reach the quarter-finals. Surrey will be hit by England’s upcoming white-ball series while Sussex will lose Jordan – and possibly Salt – but have started flawlessly.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98