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Vitality Blast: Free-scoring Surrey see off Essex

PUBLISHED: 21:42 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 21:42 12 July 2018

Aaron Finch hits six runs for Surrey (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Aaron Finch hits six runs for Surrey (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Aaron Finch, Ben Foakes and Rikki Clarke led a Surrey run glut at a packed Kia Oval as the home side saw off Essex Eagles in impressive fashion to record their first Vitality Blast win of the South Group campaign at the third attempt.

Matt Coles of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Rory Burns (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Matt Coles of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Rory Burns (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Surrey’s 222-4 was just two runs short of their record T20 total, made against Gloucestershire at Bristol 12 years ago, and only Varun Chopra with a 46-ball 67 threatened for long as Essex were held to 183-7 in reply despite a spirited start to lose by 39 runs.

For Essex it was a second defeat from three games and their chase floundered when Tom Westley (23) and Ravi Bopara (2) both fell to Gareth Batty’s off spin in a 12th over costing just three runs.

That followed a superb 11th over by Clarke, in which Essex could also manage only three and, suddenly, from 100-1 off 10, they were 106-3 off 12 – with a required run rate soaring to 15 runs per over – and never recovered.

Ryan ten Doeschate, after hoisting Batty for six, edged his next ball to keeper Foakes to go for 10 and the 40-year old former Surrey captain finished with figures of 3-36 from his four overs.

Jamie Porter of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Nic Maddinson during Surrey vs Essex Eagles, Vitality Blast T20 Cricket at the Kia Oval on 12th July 2018Jamie Porter of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Nic Maddinson during Surrey vs Essex Eagles, Vitality Blast T20 Cricket at the Kia Oval on 12th July 2018

By the time opener Chopra was run out attempting a second run in the 17th over, having hit two sixes and five fours, Surrey were all but assured of victory.

Finch, the world’s number one ranked T20 batsman, thumped 58 from 33 balls with four sixes and five fours on his return to Surrey from international duty, and although his fellow Australian Nic Maddinson could not mark his debut with a score of note there was still more than enough spectacular strokeplay to entertain another near-25,000 capacity floodlit crowd revelling in the balmy evening temperatures.

Foakes contributed 56 from 35 balls, with two sixes and five fours, and added 86 in 7.4 overs for the third wicket with Finch.

But the most explosive knocks came from Clarke and Pope, who came together when Foakes fell at 154-4 in the 16th over, and took 25 runs from a ragged nine-ball 18th over, bowled by Matt Coles, that featured two no balls, one of which was hit for four, a wide and two Clarke sixes.

Ben Foakes in batting action for Surrey as Adam Wheater looks on from behind the stumps (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Ben Foakes in batting action for Surrey as Adam Wheater looks on from behind the stumps (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Clarke thumped four legside sixes overall in his violent 20-ball 48 not out, while Pope’s unbeaten 31 from 20 balls featured four fours, two of them extraordinary reverse flicks to third man off Sam Cook at the start of the final over.

Surrey were out of the blocks quickly, after they had chosen to bat first, with Finch and Rory Burns taking 28 from the two opening overs, bowled by Jamie Porter and Cook.

Burns began by pulling the first and fourth balls of the match for four, before deftly deflecting the last ball of Porter’s initial over to third man for another boundary. Finch pulled his third ball, from Cook, for six besides plundering two fours in an over costing 16.

Coles, brought on for the third over, struck immediately when Burns pulled his first ball straight to deep mid-wicket, slowing Surrey for a short while, and Maddinson had made only three when the left-hander was tucked up by Porter and could only mishit an attempted lofted drive to mid-off.

Adam Zampa of Essex celebrates with his team mates after taking the wicket of Aaron Finch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Adam Zampa of Essex celebrates with his team mates after taking the wicket of Aaron Finch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

But Coles was hit twice for six by Finch in his second over and the final powerplay over, the sixth of the innings, cost Porter 20 runs as Foakes clubbed a six and three fours – the first a beautiful, authentic off drive just past the bowler’s left hand – to take Surrey to 67-2.

Finch, dropped off Porter on 16 after a juggle by Coles at deep square leg, continued to take the attack to the Essex bowlers and there was a fourth six, muscled over long-off against Simon Harmer’s off breaks, before he skied Australian leg spinner Adam Zampa to be caught and bowled in the 12th over.

Zampa was by far the pick of Essex’s bowlers, conceding just 20 runs from his four overs and also adding Foakes’ wicket when he smeared a catch into the deep. The rest of the Eagles’ bowling figures made for grim reading, however, with Coles, Bopara and Cook all bearing the brunt of the ferocious late onslaught in which Clarke and Pope took 52 from the last three overs in an unbroken stand worth 68 in a mere 4.4 overs.

Essex were actually ahead of Surrey after six overs, at 68-1, and Jade Dernbach’s team were only four runs better off than their opponents at the halfway mark, but the final margin of Surrey’s victory told the story of their overall superiority with both bat and ball. Seamer Mat Pillans picked up late Essex wickets to end with 3-34.

Ollie Pope in batting action for Surrey as Adam Wheater looks on from behind the stumps (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Ollie Pope in batting action for Surrey as Adam Wheater looks on from behind the stumps (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex return to Chelmsford to host Glamorgan on Friday night.

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