Dexter guides Middlesex to comfortable win
Middlesex 121 for 3 beat Surrey 120 for 8 by seven wickets
Middlesex dented Surrey hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the Friends Provident t20 by cruising to a seven-wicket win in the floodlight London derby at The Oval.
Chasing Surrey's disappointing run-a-ball total of 120 for 8 in front of a 16,000 crowd, Panthers recovered from the early loss of Australian left-hander David Warner (1) to canter to their sixth South Group win with 12 balls to spare.
Newly-appointed Middlesex captain Neil Dexter and Owais Shah (32) engineered the visitors' level-headed pursuit by posting 74 in 10 overs for the second wicket before a stunning boundary catch by Stuart Walters ended Shah's 31-ball stay. Dawid Malan (4) needlessly pulled a long hop into the hands of deep mid-wicket, but Dexter - who might have gone for 33 when Walters missed a simpler chance at deep mid-wicket - cantered to a 46-ball 50 with seven fours.
The South African-born right-hander saw his side home with an unbeaten 62 off 57 balls in tandem with Gareth Berg (19no) to inflict a seventh defeat on the Lions. In the face of some tight bowling Surrey made the worst possible start to the match by losing two of their top three batsmen to sloppy run-outs having elected to bat first.
Mark Ramprakash (0) went to the eighth ball of the innings having pushed the ball toward extra cover he called, set off and dived full length in a bid to make his ground only to be beaten home by Berg's under-arm direct hit.
Jason Roy, Surrey's only t20 century-maker in the history of the competition, faced only two deliveries before he went to a catch at the wicket when down the pitch and attempting a slash drive through cover against Tim Murtagh.
Having mustered only 27 from their six powerplay overs Surrey's captain Rory Hamilton-Brown (20) became their second run-out victim when he chanced a second run to Berg at deep mid-wicket. Tom Smith then took the first of his three for 16 return when Walters (1), moving back to clip a turning delivery through mid-wicket trod on his off stump and dislodge the bail to go hit wicket.
With only 42 on the board at the mid-point of the innings Andrew Symonds upped the tempo by cracking a six and two fours as Dexter's first over of the night cost 16 runs. Left-arm spinner Smith then turned the course of the innings by dismissing Symonds (19) and Younis Khan (21) in the space of three balls.
Symonds, down the pitch and driving, clipped a return catch to the bowler. Four runs later Khan went in identical fashion having been deceived in the flight. Matt Spriegel contributed 16 without a boundary before holing out to long on and Chris Schofield (5) skied to deep mid-wicket leaving top scorer Gary Wilson to bludgeon five late boundaries in his unbeaten 36.