SURREY WON BY 29 RUNS: SURREY 173-7; MIDDLESEX 144
England prospect Zafar Ansari light up the London derby with bat and ball as Surrey marked their 150th outing in the NatWest T20 Blast with a comfortable 29-run victory over south group rivals Middlesex at the Kia Oval.
Batting first, Surrey posted a competitive 173 for seven in front of a crowd of 21,466 that owed much to Ansari's enterprising 34 not out off 25 balls, who then claimed two for 16 with his slow left-arm spin as Middlesex subsided to 144 all out. Aside from Ravi Rampaul's three for 21, spin proved to be the king in SE11 on a sticky pitch, freshened by a heavy early evening shower that delayed the start time by 40 minutes.
Middlesex's Ollie Rayner took three for 23 with his off-spin, and Gareth Batty claimed two for 25, including the vital wicket of England's one-day skipper Eoin Morgan, who made just three. In response Jason Roy handed Surrey an excellent start by hitting a quick-fire 35. He pulled Roland-Jones for six in the second over, then lifted Finn over long-on for another maximum in the third and went on to reverse lap McClenaghan for four. Roy raced to 29 before being caught at mid-on as Surrey reached 57-1 at the end of the powerplay.
The introduction of Rayner's off-spin in the seventh over brought the wicket of Steven Davies, who was caught at deep midwicket for 14. Then, three balls later, Rory Burns, having been called through for a second run, was run out without facing a delivery by Toby Roland-Jones, who was stationed at deep mid-wicket.
Rayner struck again by having Kumar Sangakkara stumped for 27, though not before the Sri Lankan had gone past 5,000 T20 career runs. With Ben Foakes spooning a catch to wide mid-on off Steven Finn, who then turned catcher when Dwayne Bravo lofted Rayner to long-off, Surrey had work to do at 102 for six in the 14th over. After Sam Curran was caught at extra cover, miscuing an attempted pull, brother Tom shared in an unbeaten, and ultimately pivotal eighth wicket stand of 46 in four overs with Ansari.
Needing to speed up the over-rate, Dawid Malan brought himself on to bowl the 19th over, which Tom Curran, in particular, took advantage of by lifting the Middlesex captain over long-on for six. Middlesex, in reply, lost wickets at regular intervals. Brendon McCullum announced himself by launching Ravi Rampaul into the night sky for six, but the West Indian exacted his revenge, two overs later, by bowling McCullum for 16 with a cleverly disguised slower ball.
With Malan going caught at deep square-leg off Sam Curran, the visitors were 38 for two at the end of the powerplay, which became 40 for three when Batty had Morgan caught at long-on. Batty then claimed the wicket of John Simpson in identical fashion, though not before the Middlesex keeper had swung Batty over mid-wicket for a maximum.
Ansari struck first ball when Nick Gubbins bottom edged a pull on to his leg stump via the chest. With 111 needed off ten overs, Roland-Jones defiantly launched Batty over mid-wicket for six, before falling leg before to Ansari. James Franklin's spirited 39 off 30 balls gave Middlesex a slither of hope, but when Frankin departed to a catch at wide long-on two overs from the end the visitors' chances went with him. ENDS