Surrey make short work of Middlesex
Surrey Lions mounted a near perfect run-chase to beat Middlesex Panthers by nine wickets in a low-scoring Friends Provident t20 clash at Lord's.
Middlesex, who had won their three previous South Group games, paid the price for a poor batting display and another failure for Adam Gilchrist as Surrey overhauled the hosts’ total of 128 for nine to secure their second victory of the campaign.
Needing barely more than a run a ball, Surrey were indebted to captain Rory Hamilton-Brown’s Twenty20-best 73 not out from 49 balls, which came in an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 96 with Mark Ramprakash, who made 36 not out, that eased them home with three overs to spare.
The Lions made a roaring start to their pursuit with three fours from Steven Davies, who perished for 20 after toe-ending an attempted pull against left-arm spinner Tom Smith to substitute fielder Josh Davey at mid-off.
Hamilton-Brown moved to his second Twenty20 half-century from 36 balls, with three fours and two sixes, and celebrated the milestone by hitting a full delivery from Shaun Udal into the bottom tier of the pavilion, forcing the MCC members to scatter.
He went on to clinch the victory with a rasping cover-drive off Tim Murtagh to take his boundary count to five fours and two sixes.
Batting first after winning the toss, Middlesex made a bright start with a brace of fours and a six by Australia star David Warner, but his mistimed pull to compatriot Andrew Symonds at extra-cover put his side on the back foot and they never really recovered.
Neil Dexter, pinch-hitting at number three, responded with three crisp fours before a miscued drive off Chris Tremlett sailed to Ramprakash at long-off.
Deprived of the strike, Gilchrist finally got off the mark in the fifth over with a spectacular six into the bottom tier of the grandstand and moved into double figures with a precise cut through backward point in Gareth Batty's opening over.
The off-spinner soon had his revenge when Gilchrist holed out to long-on to spark Surrey celebrations.
Middlesex posted their 50 in the eighth over but Surrey, despite losing Jade Dernbach with a side strain in mid-over, maintained their grip when Symonds picked up two wickets in his first over of off-spin.
He caught Dawid Malan for two off a leading edge as the left-hander tried to work to leg, then former Surrey batsman Scott Newman cut his first delivery straight to Younus Khan at backward point to go without scoring.
All-rounder Gareth Berg briefly broke the Lions' stranglehold by sweeping a four and six, but wrist-spinner Chris Schofield had the last laugh, running Berg out with a direct hit from point after Owais Shah's call for a suicidal single.
Batty struck twice in the 13th over, having Smith caught off a top-edged sweep at deep midwicket and locating Udal’s edge as he attempted a dab to third man.
Batty recorded a career-best 4-23 by trapping Murtagh leg before with an arm ball, bringing together last man Pedro Collins and Shah, who farmed the strike through the final five overs - to the point of turning down singles - to finish unbeaten with 44 from 52 balls.
With only four fours from his hour-long stay, Shah at least helped Middlesex bat out their overs as extras were the second highest scorer.