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Roy tops bill in top-of-the-table clash

Man-of-the-moment Jason Roy and Surrey skipper Gary Wilson speak to us after their latest win

Jason Roy goes into the battle of the South Group’s top two possibly in the form of his life as the leading run-scorer in the NatWest T20 Blast.

In all competitions Roy’s last four innings are 79, 114, 63 and 76, all made at a scorching strike-rate. His Blast tally is a whopping 442 runs in eight innings at an average of 63.

Roy will open ahead of a powerful batting line-up that includes Kevin Pieteren, Steven Davies and Kevin O'Brien. Fellow opener Tillakaratne Dilshan will be missing, until July 16, after heading back to Sri Lanka for their limited-overs series against South Africa.

Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Roy said: “It is a great feeling; of course it is. You’ve got the likes of Dilshan, Pietersen, Davies to come in the order. You just bat with a lot of freedom and I think that’s helped my game a load.”

In-form Jason Roy accelerates towards a blistering 79 as Surrey crushed Kent Spitfiires to move two points behind Essex Eagles

On talk of earning England limited-overs selection, the 23-year-old added: “I just keep batting, doing my thing, and if they come knocking then I’ll be more than happy to put on that badge.

“(There’s) a lot of hard work to be done, a lot of runs to be scored, but (I’m) very happy with where I am at the moment.”

Group leaders Essex Eagles, two points ahead of Surrey having also played eight games, are set include international players Ravi Bopara and Jesse Ryder at the Essex County Ground.

Essex have some injury worries before the match with David Masters set to undergo a fitness test after suffering a foot problem in the LV= County Championship win over Gloucestershire this week.

"He's been for a scan and we'll wait and see what the results of those are and what he's like tomorrow,” head coach Paul Grayson told the club’s website.

Grayson is nonetheless looking forward to a contest that could go along way to deciding a home quarter-final.

"Getting through the group stage was always the priority at the start of the competition," he said.

"Once we've done that, we can start looking to add a few more wins to claim either of the top two places in the group that would give us a home tie.

"Surrey are full of high-quality players, they've got momentum and confidence, and it promises to be an excellent game with lots of match-winners on both sides. It will be a tough game on the night with 22 very good cricketers on show.

"There's a lot of belief in the squad and the confidence in our camp is high at the moment as everyone can see in the manner in which we are playing white-ball cricket."

NatWest T20 Blast fact

*Essex have won 12 of their 16 Twenty20 meetings with Surrey, including a five-wicket victory with seven balls to spare at the Kia Oval this season.

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