Surrey Essex County Championship 2018 Ryan ten Doeschate Morne Morkel
The defeat did not matter to Surrey, who won the 2018 County Championship title anyway © Getty Images

Surrey had clinched the 2018 County Championship title before their final match against Essex, at The Oval. The match, however, turned out to be far from insipid. Surrey had come back strongly into the match despite conceding a whopping 410-run lead, thanks to Mark Stoneman (86), Jason Roy (128 in 151 balls) and Ollie Pope (114 in 120). They erased the deficit for the loss of four wickets and resumed the final day at 477 for 5, 67 ahead.

The final morning belonged to Essex seamer Matt Coles, who took 5 for 123. Surrey lost their last 4 wickets for 9 in 20 balls, and Essex needed only 132.

But the Surrey fast bowlers — Morne Morkel (4 for 28), Jade Dernbach (2 for 24), and Amar Virdi (2 for 73) — refused to make things easy. Morkel clean bowled Murali Vijay, off-stump, for two, and the top-order caved in. The total, at one point, read 55 for 5 without a single batsman going past 20.

Then Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate took charge. He found support from Adam Wheater (11), who helped him add 42 for the sixth wicket before edging Morkel to Ryan Patel at slip. Three balls later Morkel had Simon Harmer caught-behind for a duck. Essex needed another 35 with 3 wickets in hand.

They still needed 21 when Morkel trapped Jamie Porter leg-before. When Stoneman and Will Jacks combined to pull off a relayed throw to run out Coles (who was attempting a third run), Essex needed another 8. But Matthew Quinn did not budge, and ten Doeschate (53*) got the winning run off Dernbach.

Brief scores:

Surrey 67 (Ollie Pope 26; Jamie Porter 4 for 26, Samuel Cook 4 for 27) and 541 (Mark Stoneman 86, Jason Roy 128, Ollie Pope 114, Will Jacks 53; Matt Coles 5 for 123) lost to Essex 477 for 8 decl. (Murali Vijay 80, Tom Westley 134, Adam Wheater 68rh, Simon Harmer 102*; Jade Dernbach 4 for 95) and 134 for 9 (Ryan ten Doeschate 53*; Morne Morkel 4 for 28) by 1 wicket.