SURREY V SOMERSET - NatWest T20 Blast - 8 July 2016
Surrey 154-8 (20 overs). Somerset 139-6 (20 Overs). Surrey won by 15 runs.

Surrey kept their hopes of NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final qualification alive with a hard-working 15-run win against Somerset in front of a 25,500 full house at the Kia Oval. For Somerset, however, defeat is a terminal blow to their own hopes of staging a late South Group rally to get into the last eight, as their captain Jim Allenby admitted afterwards.

Spinners Gareth Batty and Zafar Ansari put a mid-innings stranglehold on Somerset's reply to Surrey's total of 154 for 8, and in the closing overs Jade Dernbach and Tom Curran also rose to the challenge of defending what had seemed to be a below-par score with a superb mix of slower balls, yorkers and other variations. Somerset finished on 139 for 6.

Mahela Jayawardene, Somerset's former Sri Lanka batsman, was disgusted with himself for hitting a long hop from off spinner Batty - the Surrey captain's first ball - straight down the throat of Jason Roy at deep mid wicket, at the start of the eighth over. He had made batting look easy with 36 from 21 balls in the six-over powerplay but no other Somerset batsman could match his freedom.

Batty said afterwards: "Our bowlers did brilliantly to defend that total. Jade Dernbach is just the best at what he does, operating in the death overs, and he's been doing that for years. But Tom Curran, for a young lad of 21, is also a very consistent performer in the closing overs and he's learning from Jade the master.

"We've seen before in T20 that it's amazing what you can achieve when you get on a run. We've made a few tweaks to the side in recent games and to get Jade back from injury, after a long lay-off in the first half of this season, is huge for us."

Allenby, who was run out for 22 by Dernbach's direct hit from backward point, said: "That's our competition over in terms of qualifying and we just haven't done it this season. We've got three group games left, though, so it's important we turn up and try to take some better form into the 50-over competition and the rest of the season. But it just hasn't been good enough from us."

Australian batsman Aaron Finch hit a brilliant 51 from just 26 balls, with three sixes and five fours, to give Surrey's innings a blistering start after Somerset had opted to bowl first.

But Roy got out cheaply early on and, when Finch fell in the eight over Surrey's innings, from 68 for two, lost its way against some excellent Somerset bowling in which Josh Davey was outstanding with figures of 3 for 20 from his four overs.

Dominic Sibley and Ansari were Davey's other scalps and, when South African all-rounder Chris Morris chipped a return catch to Jamie Overton to go for 8, Somerset were right back in the game with Surrey 120 for 6 deep into the 16th over.

The Curran brothers, Tom and Sam, tried their best to get Surrey's total up to something defendable but when Jayawardene swept Somerset to 71 for 2 after seven overs the visitors looked favourites.

Dernbach's 3 for 32, however, and identical four-over spells of 1 for 20 from both Batty and Ansari turned the game back Surrey's way and when Lewis Gregory hit the last ball of the 19th over, a full toss from Dernbach, straight to deep mid wicket where Tom Curran took a fine catch above his head, Somerset's last chance had gone and the task of scoring 18 runs from the last over to tie was always going to be beyond them.