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Friends Life t20, July 31: As it happened

Hampshire Royals concluded their domination of the Friends Life t20 South Group with victory over Middlesex Panthers, meaning Essex Eagles sealed a quarter-final place alongside second-placed Surrey, who beat them convincingly at Chelmsford.

10:20pm - So there we have it, some mouth-watering ties in prospect as the battle for Finals Day reaches boiling point next week. Surrey and Somerset kick things off at the Kia Oval on Tuesday, with Northants entertaining Durham later in the evening. Lancashire make the long trip to take on Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday before Notts host Essex on Thursday week. We'll be bringing you all the action here on ecb.co.uk. Thank-you and good night.

10:15pm - Quarter-final draw for the Friends Life t20 

Northants Steelbacks v Durham Dynamos

Hampshire Royals v Lancashire Lightning

Notts Outlaws v Essex Eagles

Surrey v Somerset

10:05pm - So Hampshire underline their status as the South Group's outstanding side this season. Tonight's results mean Surrey and Essex take the remaining quarter-final spots alongside Northants Steelbacks, Notts Outlaws, Durham Dynamos, Lancashire Lightning and Somerset. Stay tuned for the draw, which we will have for you very shortly.

9:56pm - RESULT! Hampshire Royals (190/3) beat Middlesex Panthers (182/7) by eight runs. Middlesex chased well, but Hampshire's total - inspired by an unbroken century stand from Sean Ervine and Neil McKenzie - proved too stern an ask.

9:55pm - Denly goes caught behind for 67. Middlesex's fine efforts are in vain and Essex are through to the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals.

9:54pm - This is excellent death bowling from Wood, just a single again from the third before Denly hoists a streaky four. Ten required from two and Essex qualify with a tie.

9:53pm - Two singles from the first two balls. Middlesex need 15 from four...

9:52pm - A booming straight four from Joe Denly, who moves to 62 not out. Middlesex need 17 off the final over, which will be bowled by Wood.

9:49pm - RESULT! Surrey (165 all out) beat Essex Eagles (104 all out) by 61 runs. Essex are left to rue having no one to keep ten Doeschate company. A ball before Dernbach disturbed his stumps to finish with 2-22, he creamed a four over extra cover to move to 60. Remarkably, no other Essex batsman reached double figures. Surrey have a home quarter-final next Tuesday, while Essex must hope Middlesex don't do anything astonishing.

9:47pm - Middlesex lose skipper Neil Dexter for 16, caught by Liam Dawson to give Chris Wood his second wicket. They need 35 from 13.

9:40pm - RESULT! Kent Spitfires (117/2) beat Sussex Sharks (113 all out) by eight wickets. Kent emerge victorious in tonight's dead rubber, cantering home with 41 balls to spare. A superb all-round performance from Coles was a huge factor for Geraint Jones' side.

At Chelmsford, ten Doeschate is thumping it to all parts, clearing the grandstands off Roy once more, but has almost run out of partners. Essex are 90 for nine.

It looks like they will find consolation in defeat though, because Middlesex's hopes are fading fast at the Ageas Bowl. On 144 for five they require a further 47 from the last three overs.

9:23pm - Ryan ten Doeschate is determined not to go quietly at Chelmsford, launching Jason Roy against the roof of a neighbouring house. Alas, Tim Phillips does not possess equal clout and lofts the same bowler - delivering his first ever over in the format - to Dernbach. Essex are 52 for seven.

Middlesex are 90 for three, requiring 101 more to win from nine overs.

Coles has gone for a brisk 40 but Kent might well be getting an early trip home from Sussex. They are 82 for two before the scheduled halfway point in their pursuit of 114.

9:16pm - Middlesex are 78 for three in the ninth and ominously for Hampshire - and by extension Essex, who have lost Napier to De Bruyn slide to 40 for six - England's Eoin Morgan has eased to 20 from 12 balls.

9:09pm - And another! James Foster is caught behind without scoring off Zander de Bruyn. Essex might be tempted to throw the towel in at 38 for five if it wasn't for the sight of Graham Napier striding to the crease. Surely this is beyond even his mercurial talents?

9:05pm - Beauty from Dernbach! One ball after Bopara struck a sumptuous four, his England colleague hit back by rearranging the stumps. Essex are 33 for four and that clatter of Middlesex wickets now appears by far their most likely route to the quarter-finals.

9:02pm - David Griffiths has struck twice in his opening over and Middlesex must regroup quickly having fallen to 46 for three.

Kent appear to be making light work of their modest target at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground. It's 42 for one in the sixth over and, following his efforts with the ball, Matt Coles is enjoying himself with bat in hand at number three.

8:56pm - Rutherford finally goes and Lewis has his reward. Davies' work behind the stumps is clean on this occasion and the score is 16 for three.

Chris Wood takes Stirling's wicket to check Middlesex's momentum - they're 43 for one in the fifth.

8:51pm - No mistake this time - Jade Dernbach holds on after Mark Pettini tests his vision under the floodlights. It's nine for two in the third and Ravi Bopara comes to the crease hoping to aid a worryingly skittish start to the hosts' reply.

In further cause for Essex concern, Middlesex have raced to 34 without loss.

Kent are 22 for one - James Anyon removing Daniel Bell-Drummond.

8:47pm - Goodness me, Rutherford is leading an incredibly charmed life! I'm not sure Surrey captain Gareth Batty knows where to look after grassing a steepler from the New Zealand batsman. Jon Lewis is the bowler to suffer. Naturally, he knows exactly where to direct his scowl.

8:41pmPerfect start for Surrey! Well, not quite because Steven Davies put down Hamish Rutherford off Azhar Mahmood's first ball, but the veteran Pakistan international is fired up and bowls Greg Smith without scoring.

Middlesex are not hanging around in pursuit of Hampshire's 190 for three. Ireland opener Paul Stirling has already found the fence twice.

8:34pm - Sussex also find themselves all out after 20 overs but could only set Kent 114 to win. Machan, Hamilton-Brown and Ed Joyce were the only home batsmen to reach double figures, while seam duo Claydon and Coles collected three wickets apiece.

8:30pm - Take a bow Graham Napier! Batty and Jade Dernbach are comprehensively yorked to leave Surrey 165 all out. Napier returns magnificent figures of 4-18 - let's not forget Surrey were also on the receiving end when he took 7-32 with four wickets in as many balls in the Yorkshire Bank 40 earlier this season - and his latter victims are two of the players who will have to perform well if Surrey are to claim a maiden t20 triumph at Chelmsford. 

8:26pm - Surrey are 159 for eight heading into the last, with Topley accounting for Jon Lewis and Wilson - who has put his side in contention with a well-made 43 - during the penultimate set of six.

Middlesex will need 191 to win at Southampton after Hampshire posted an imposing 190 for three - Ervine and Neil McKenzie unbeaten on 60 and 47 respectively.

8:20pm - Sussex have their hundred up but it's for the loss of six wickets because Mitchell Claydon has removed Michael Yardy.

8:15pm - Things have taken a turn in Essex's favour at Chelmsford. Tait is back into the attack and finding reverse swing at pace, having removed Zafar Ansari caught behind. Wilson is still there and responds by paddling the Aussie quick to the fence. It's 145 for six with three overs remaining.

At the Ageas Bowl Sean Ervine has a superb 26-ball half-century. Hampshire are 169 for three heading into the last two overs.

8:05pm - Gary Wilson launched Reece Topley for consecutive sixes at the start of the 15th over of Surrey's innings. Attempting to follow his partner's lead, Zander de Bruyn perished for a run-a-ball 39 at long-off. The score is 133 for five.

Sean Ervine has smashed his way to 47 from 24 balls with two fours and four sixes, meaning Hampshire are 155 for three and possibly hitting Middlesex out of the competition.

Sussex's enterprising start is becoming a dim and distant memory at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground. The hosts have staggered to 86 for five with five overs remaining.

7:50pm - A couple more wickets to tell you about in the two 'live' matches. Ollie Rayner trapped Jimmy Adams lbw on the reverse sweep, seven shy of a fifty, but Hampshire remain well placed on 93 for three midway through the 12th over.

Surrey are 88 for four, with Australian paceman Shaun Tait having accounted for evergreen all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, Ravi Bopara pouching a fine catch.

7:42pm - But Davies goes from the next ball he faces, misjudging a David Masters off-cutter to pick out Tim Phillips at deep midwicket. A very important wicket for Essex.

Sussex are continuing to wobble - Matt Coles removes Nash to leave them 54 for three in the eighth.

7:40pm - Fifty for Steven Davies. This has been a magnificent innings so far from the Surrey gloveman. His third six sees him bring up a half-century off 26 balls.

7:32pm - And Mark's namesake Steven looks in fine touch at Chelmsford, peppering the ropes to move to 37.

Vince goes this time for 28 at the Ageas bowl - to the same combination as opening partner Carberry did. Hampshire are 61 for two.

7:28pm - Matt Machan was the architect of that fine Sussex start but he's gone to Mark Davies for at 20-ball 31, featuring three sixes.

7:24pm - Deary me, Hampshire should be two down but Joe Denly dropped James Vince after the batsman lofted onto the on side. They've rattled along to 43 for one.

Sussex are also making fine and less-troubled progress having reached 39 without loss after four overs.

7:16pm Two wickets in three balls for Graham Napier! So often Essex's hero in the shorter formats, the powerful all-rounder has Chelmsford on its feet in the early exchanges - brilliantly bowling Jason Roy and Vikram Solanki for one and nought respectively. Steven Davies launched a mighty straight six in the first over but, at 12 for two, he might have to rein in his ambition.

There is also a vital early breakthrough for Middlesex at the Ageas bowl. In-form Michael Carberry drilled Kyle Mills to Neil Dexter at mid-on and the score is 28 for one after three.

7:05pm - Group leaders Hampshire can breathe easily heading into tonight's final round of South Group matches having already secured top spot and a lucrative home quarter-final. Things are less clear cut below them.

The winner of Essex v Surrey is through, while the loser will also go through as the second-best third-place side, provided Middlesex lose to Hampshire. Should the Panthers triumph, an Essex defeat would see their race run. If Essex and Middlesex win, the latter and Surrey will be left to scramble in a net run-rate scenario. Surrey enjoy the better of that equation at the start of play. Clear as mud!

Sussex and Kent can leave their abaci at home as they have only pride at stake.

6:50pm - It would appear to be a good evening for batting, or that is certainly the collective opinion of Gareth Batty, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Chris Nash. The respective captains of Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex all called correctly and have elected to post a total.

With the chance of rain at all venues estimated at between 40 and 50 per cent, perhaps Batty, Mascarenhas and Nash want to make the most of dry conditions before Duckworth-Lewis potentially comes into play.

6:40pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live coverage of tonight's Friends Life t20 games in the South Group. We'll have toss news for you shortly; here are the runners and riders:

Essex Eagles v Surrey

Hampshire Royals v Middlesex Panthers

Sussex Sharks v Kent Spitfires

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