Jason Roy will be aiming to put a chronic lack of one-day international runs behind him when he plays for Surrey in their Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final against Worcestershire at New Road on Saturday.
England’s semi-final exit from the Champions Trophy has given both Roy and Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali an unexpected chance to play for their counties in the showpiece fixture – and Surrey will surely have no hesitation in bringing Roy straight back into their line-up as they bid for a third successive Lord’s final in the 50-over competition.
Roy, 26, has endured a torrid run of poor form since returning from the Indian Premier League in early May.
For England, he scored 20 and 0 in the two one-day internationals against Ireland which began the national side’s busy summer, and then made just 13 runs in three innings against South Africa and only 18 runs from another three innings in the Champions Trophy.
It was a bad trot which led to him being dropped for this week’s semi-final against Pakistan, where defeat at Cardiff saw England knocked out.
For Surrey, Roy has played just two innings this season – both in the Royal London One-Day Cup group stage. He made 44 against Kent on May 12, but only 1 against Hampshire two days later.
At least Roy will have happy memories of the last time Surrey played Worcestershire in the 50-over competition. In 2015 he scored 99 from 95 balls, adding 144 for the second wicket with Kumar Sangakkara – who made 76 – in an eventual 36-run Surrey win at the Kia Oval.
Talking of Sangakkara, it was his 121 from 121 balls which did much to see Surrey past Yorkshire Vikings in Tuesday’s semi-final, at Headingley.
It was Sangakkara’s 100th hundred in first-class and List A cricket combined, his second successive hundred in the competition – following his 124 not out against Hampshire – and, remarkably, his seventh of the county season.
In the Royal London Cup the 39-year-old Sangakkara has 442 runs at an average of 88.40, while in the Specsavers County Championship he has so far plundered 906 runs at 90.60, with five hundreds.
He has also made two scores of 50 or more in both competitions, to date.
Yet Sangakkara was keen to praise the team performance which saw off Yorkshire, mentioning not just Ben Foakes, who made 86 in an innings-defining stand of 180 with the great Sri Lankan and now has 395 runs and five half-centuries in the competition at the heady average of 131.66, but the batting contributions of Scott Borthwick, Ollie Pope, Sam Curran and a high-class collective bowling and fielding display.
“I think the bowling unit has been an absolute key to winning games and to see them performing like that was outstanding. Everything was pretty spot on,” said Sangakkara.
“We spoke about bowling smartly as a group and how we bowl in situations that challenge us. Everyone bowled outstandingly well and the fielders were amazing.”
Sangakkara, however, had words of warning for his teammates as Surrey continue their bid to win 50-over silverware at the third time of asking in successive seasons.
He added: “We need to repeat that performance against Yorkshire. Doing it in one game is not good enough – you need to repeat it day in and day out.
"We have to understand that what we face at New Road is a completely different side who play a different brand of cricket.
"We have to execute our plans and trust and believe in each other. If we can do that, we have a great chance.”
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