The first piece of domestic silverware is up for grabs on Saturday as Notts Outlaws face Surrey for the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lord's. Here's the lowdown...
Who: Notts Outlaws v Surrey
When: 1 July, 11am
Where: Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
Two of the heavyweights go head-to-head at HQ with plot lines aplenty. Chris Read leads the Outlaws in his last ever 50-over match for the county before his retirement at the end of the season. For Surrey skipper Gareth Batty, after two heartbreaking defeats in the previous two finals, this is a chance to banish those bad memories and finally nail down a trophy for his star-studded side. It's all set for an absolute cracker.
Route to the final
Both sides had identical records in the group stages, winning four, losing three and having one game rained off. Both finished third and had to qualify through the play-offs.
The Outlaws' path to Lord's from there was quite remarkable. First they went to Somerset and smashed a dazzling 429, led by Brendan Taylor's brutal 154, and managed to restrict Somerset to just the 405. Then they chased down 372 to beat Essex at Chelmsford in one of games of the season. Both Alastair Cook and Ryan ten Doeschate scored centuries but an epic 122 not out from Samit Patel and a brutal 111 off 75 balls from Steven Mullaney got Notts over the line.
Surrey took on the might of Yorkshire in their play-off and set the Tykes 314 to win after the ever-magnificent Kumar Sangakkara hit 121 and Ben Foakes pitched in with 86. Then Ravi Rampaul, Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach stifled the reply. The Rey dismantled Worcestershire in the subsequent semi-final, Jason Roy getting back into form with 92 as they posted 363, then rattled the Pears out for just 210. Old boy Gareth Batty took 5/40, and loved it, back at New Road.
Head to head: James Pattinson v Kumar Sangakkara
What an inspired signing the Dandenong Destroyer has been for Notts. Though his white-ball impact hasn't been as big as in the Championship, he's still taken 12 wickets in his nine matches. A big game player, Surrey will know one devastating spell from him could decide the match. As for Mr Sangakkara, he just gets better with age. The 41-year-old has 515 RLODC runs this season, is averaging 85.5 and scored 121 in the play-off and 73 in the semi. He made an unbeaten 180 against Yorkshire in the Championship this week to take his tally for the season to 1,601 runs. Quite simply, phenomenal.
Head to head: Alex Hales v Jason Roy
England's most destructive opening pairing of all-time? These two are thick as thieves and are past-masters at getting teams off to a flier, usually together for the Three Lions (256 vs Sri Lanka last summer anyone?). While England duty has limited their availability this season for their respective counties, Roy smashed a revitalising 92 in the semi against Worcestershire, and Hales 39 in that epic at Essex. With those Powerplay overs vital, these two are right up there with the key men who could decide the destination of the trophy.
The last time both sides hoisted silverware, it was in the 40-over format. Notts won the YB40 in 2011 while Surrey clinched the Clydesdale Bank 40 in 2013. Who will add the 2017 RLODC to their cabinet on Saturday?