SURREY V KENT - NatWest T20 Blast - 29 July 2016
Surrey 212-4 (20 Overs). Kent 175-7 (20 Overs). Surrey won by 37 runs.

Jason Roy's brilliant 120 not out from 62 balls thrilled a capacity crowd of 25,500 at the Kia Oval as Surrey beat Kent by 37 runs on a NatWest T20 Blast night of spectacular strokeplay.

Sadly for Surrey, however, their win did not give them a chance of earning a quarter-final place as Essex claimed the one remaining qualifying place from the South Group after taking one point from their abandoned match against Glamorgan at Chelmsford. Essex finished on 15 points, to Surrey's 14.

Surrey's 20-over total of 212 for 4 was based on a remarkable opening partnership of 187 in 17.2 overs between Roy and Australian big-hitter Aaron Finch, who scored 79. In reply, Kent could only manage 175 for 7 and were never in contention after slipping initially to 111 for 6 before Sam Northeast and Will Gidman, who ended on 30 not out, gave the final score some respectability.

Roy struck three sixes and fifteen fours in his highest T20 score but the only Kent batsman to reach even a half-century was their skipper Northeast who hit two sixes and five fours in a 44-ball 59 before becoming the seventh man out in the 19th over.

Kent's reply started with the in-form Daniel Bell-Drummond slamming six fours while scoring 31 of the first 35 runs, off just 17 balls, before skying Sam Curran to mid off.

Joe Denly was run out for 20 and Sam Billings stumped off a deliberate wide for 2 when Gareth Batty, the Surrey captain and off spinner, saw the batsman coming and fired one down the legside for Ben Foakes to whip off the bails.

Chris Morris bowled Alex Blake for 19 and, later in the over, the 13th of Kent's innings, saw Darren Stevens superbly held by Roy as he sprinted in from deep cover to take a low catch sprawling forward. Roy was the catcher again, in the next over, when Matt Coles sliced Azhar Mahmood to square cover on the boundary.

The magnificent stand between Roy and Finch was just five runs short of equalling the highest partnership in English domestic T20 cricket, the 192 between Kevin O'Brien and Hamish Marshall for Gloucestershire against Middlesex at Uxbridge in 2011. It was, however, by some distance the biggest stand in the competition this season.

Finch eventually launched Mitch Claydon - the only Kent bowler to keep the run-scoring under any sort of check - to Denly at deep mid wicket in search of a fifth six. He also hit four fours in his 51-ball knock.

It was simply a mark of Roy's brilliance, indeed, that Finch's innings seemed pedestrian in comparison. Roy's fifty took 29 balls, Finch's 38, yet it was not just his quicker scoring but the crispness of his strokeplay and the imagination he showed to pick up runs in a 360-degree arc that set Roy apart.

The England one-day opener also hit 109 against Sussex, at Hove, earlier in the competition and, in the group stage, has plundered 495 runs from 12 innings at an average of 45.00 and a strike rate of 164.45. That he could outshine a limited-overs batsman of the pedigree of Finch, throughout such a prolific stand, was extraordinary.

Finch's departure, to the second ball of the 18th over, was the prelude to a final thrash which also brought the wickets of Morris, Tom Curran and Sam Curran, who was run out trying to pinch a third run for Roy from the last ball of the innings.

Jason Roy said: "Sadly, it was not to be tonight as far as getting a quarter-final place. We put on an absolute spectacle and showed what we are capable of as a team but , in a way, that's the most disappointing thing. We have lost games earlier in the group stage we should have won, and paid for that.

"Aaron and I kicked on once we had an idea of the pitch and we just enjoyed ourselves. There was nothing to lose. We knew we needed a big total, to win the game and to qualify on net run rate if it came to that, and the crowd were again special.

"It was certainly a nice pitch to bat on but we then bowled very well too and kept taking wickets to restrict them. There are a lot of positives from the way played tonight to take into the rest of the season , both in terms of the 50-over competition and the championship, and we just have to get over this disappointment and be ready to go again in our next match."