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Surrey stay in contention for quarters

Surrey kept their Friends Life t20 qualification hopes alive with a crushing 86-run defeat of South Group rivals Middlesex Panthers at Lord's.

The match was watched by a 28,000 sell-out crowd at Lord's - thought to be the second-highest domestic attendance since the inception of Twenty20 cricket a decade ago.

Responding to Surrey's impressive 178 for seven, Middlesex slumped to 40 for six in 6.3 overs and once home skipper Neil Dexter went lbw for just three soon after the mid-point of the reply any lingering hopes of a Panthers win went with him.

The hosts, now outsiders to reach the knockout stages, eventually succumbed with six overs of the game remaining for 92 - their first two-figure T20 total - leaving Surrey to make the short trip back to SE11 with their fifth win in eight.

It was not to be Middlesex's night with the bat from the off as they lost opener Dawid Malan without scoring to the eighth ball of the response, when the left-hander toe-ended an attempted pull to mid-on.

Seven balls later Joe Denly aimed to work a delivery from Chris Tremlett to leg only to find a leading edge that flew to Jon Lewis at third man.

Paul Stirling responded for the Panthers by hitting a six over the Mound Stand, but Tremlett foxed scoreless Adam Voges with a slower ball that the Australian scooped low into the hands of man-of-the-match Kevin O'Brien, diving forward at mid-off.

Three balls later Stirling's cameo ended for 19 when his miscued cut flew to O'Brien, this time positioned at short third man, to make it 25 for four.

Middlesex’s demise gathered momentum when a fit-again Eoin Morgan flat-batted a delivery from Lewis only to see Jason Roy pull off a stunning catch at backward point.

Three balls later Adam Rossington mistimed a pull against Jade Dernbach to be caught at midwicket and the hosts duly lost their last four wickets for 13 runs, despite Gareth Berg chipping in with 33 from 19.

Surrey, batting first on a well-grassed pitch after Middlesex won the toss, were two down within 17 balls of the start. Left-hander Steven Davies worked off his legs against Berg only to see Denly run in from deep square-leg to pull off an athletic, low catch when diving at full length.

Having crossed with the ball in the air, Roy was pinned leg before by a Berg off-cutter next ball up to leave the visitors 17 for two.

Surrey's 11th-hour FLt20 signing and short-form specialist O'Brien came in to join Vikram Solanki and set about repairing the innings.

With a brace of sixes from both men, the third-wicket pair had 60 on the board by the end of the six powerplay overs. Then O'Brien took a third six over extra-cover against Voges to move to a 22-ball half-century - his first for Surrey in his second game for them.

With 107 on the board and with his own total 54, O'Brien missed a slog-sweep against left-arm spinner Ravi Patel to be bowled and end a stand worth 90 in 7.3 overs.

Patel finished with 3-28, giving the 21-year-old from Harrow competition figures in his two matches against Surrey this season of 7-46 from eight overs.

Solanki, playing because Ricky Ponting struggled to shake off a slight groin strain, became Patel's second scalp of the night when Dexter leapt at short extra-cover to hold a one-handed overhead catch. In his next over, Patel lured Gary Wilson down the track to be stumped by Rossington.

Azhar Mahmood and Zafar Ansari, with 35 and 23 not out respectively, helped Surrey regroup for a second time with a stand of 59 in seven overs that ended in a dramatic set of six from Berg, which saw Azhar run out and Lewis yorked first ball.

However, Surrey posted their highest total of the 2013 campaign - beating their 176 for three against Kent Spitfires in Canterbury - leaving Middlesex to score at an asking rate of almost nine an over for victory.

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