Surrey, last season’s champions, made a strong statement of intent in the second week of County Championship with an impressive nine-wicket victory over Hampshire at the Kia Oval. In pursuit of 243 runs from 72 overs after wrapping up Hampshire’s second innings on 258, Ollie Pope’s unbeaten 122 off 102 deliveries led Surrey to a comfortable win with 16.4 overs to spare. Meanwhile, Dom Sibley played a brilliant supporting role, remaining not out on 79.
The duo shared an unbroken partnership of 193 runs in 30 overs for the second wicket, with complete freedom towards the end. Hampshire, who were Surrey’s closest challengers for the title last year, fought valiantly throughout the game, but Surrey’s all-round strength saw them pull away in the final session of the match, capitalizing on the improved overhead conditions and the good pitch.
Pope was disappointed to miss out on his 11th Oval first-class hundred in the first innings, scoring a gritty 91 when batting was more challenging. However, in the second innings, he treated the Sunday crowd to a memorable display of stroke-making, including an extraordinary tennis-style six off James Fuller, and a drilled straight drive for four. Pope hit three sixes and 14 fours, and finished the match in style by smashing Felix Organ’s off-spin for consecutive sixes to secure his century and victory for Surrey.
Dan Worrall was the main contributor to Surrey’s five-man pace battery, taking five wickets for 40 runs in 17 overs. Kemar Roach and Tom Lawes took two wickets apiece as Hampshire’s second innings folded up. Surrey had started their County Championship campaign with a high-scoring draw against Lancashire at Old Trafford in the opening week.
Hampshire resumed their second innings on 198-5 and Surrey took 22 overs at the start of the day to wrap up their innings. Hampshire lost Nick Gubbins early on the final day as Tom Lawes took his wicket with a fine ball that he edged to first slip. Ian Holland continued his excellent innings from the previous day and put on 33 with James Fuller for the seventh wicket before Fuller fell to Kemar Roach.
Keith Barker made six before being caught by the keeper off Dan Worrall, and Holland was left unbeaten on 46 when Mohammad Abbas was out for a duck. Surrey’s openers, Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, put on a measured opening stand of 54 runs. Burns was dismissed for 35 by Kyle Abbott, but Ollie Pope came in and accelerated the run rate. Pope’s unbeaten 122 from 102 balls, along with Sibley’s 79 not out, led Surrey to a comfortable nine-wicket victory.