Middlesex squeeze out Surrey
Middlesex pulled off a dramatic one-wicket victory over Surrey in the Friends Life t20 London derby with just a single ball to spare.
Even though progression to the knockout phase was impossible for both sides, a Friday night crowd of 15,000 at the Kia Oval were treated to a battle royale.
When Ollie Wilkin and Ollie Rayner came together with Middlesex on 106 for seven, needing another 49 off 35 balls, the hosts appeared to be on course for their first win in seven games.
But the eighth-wicket pair had other ideas and when Wilkin lifted Zafar Ansari over long-on for six, the requirement had been shaved to 25 off 19.
The Panthers went into the final over needing just three, but with Gareth Batty taking a superb catch at mid-off to dismiss Rayner before running out Wilkin two deliveries later, Middlesex - with their last pair at the crease - were still three runs shy.
Tim Murtagh scampered a single off the fourth ball, leaving Tom Smith to settle the contest with a four to long-on.
Earlier, having won the toss, Surrey posted 154 for four, their highest t20 total of the season.
Steven Davies and Kevin Pietersen got the hosts under way with an opening stand of 76.
Pietersen launched Paul Stirling over long-on for six in the eighth over, but the pair were eventually parted when Davies, who made 37, was bowled by Smith in the 11th over.
Four overs later, Pietersen, backing away, was caught behind for a run-a-ball 42, looking to force Dawid Malan through extra cover, although not before Jason Roy had brought up Surrey’s 100 with a straight six off Neil Dexter.
Roy was joined by Gary Wilson and together they added 41 in just 28 balls for the third wicket.
Roy deposited Malan into the pavilion for six and followed it up by launching Dexter into the middle tier of the OCS Stand. The number three was eventually bowled by Steven Crook, for 40, as he attempted another big hit.
With his side needing 155 to win, Dexter dispatched the first three balls of Middlesex’s reply to the boundary for four.
Chris Tremlett had Stirling caught at mid-off, but with Crook clubbing Dirk Nannes for successive sixes, the visitors raced to 50 in the fourth over.
The departures of Crook, who lofted one to midwicket for 25, Adam Rossington, stumped without scoring, and Malan, bowled by Ansari for nine, checked Middlesex’s progress.
When Dexter picked out Pietersen at midwicket off the bowling of Zander de Bruyn, to depart for a 34-ball 41, and John Simpson and Gareth Berg went to successive deliveries, the game appeared to be Surrey’s for the taking, but Middlesex eventually sneaked home.