Essex 121 for 8 beat Surrey 112 for 7 by nine runs
The vast majority of a near 11,000-strong crowd travelled home unhappy from The Oval after Surrey slipped to a nine-run defeat in their Friends Provident t20 clash with Essex Eagles. The Lions never really recovered from the shock of losing both overseas stars to consecutive deliveries - with Andrew Symonds making just seven and Younis Khan falling for a golden duck - and were again booed off the park after suffering their second defeat inside three days.
Their pursuit of the modest Essex total of 121 for 8 started badly when under-fire captain Rory Hamilton-Brown (five) scooped a catch to wide long-on in the first over of the innings from David Masters. Left-hander Steven Davies (15) looked in fine form when twice square driving for four through backward point but, in making room to repeat the stroke against Chris Wright, had his off stump pegged back by a full-length delivery.
Mark Ramprakash showed experience by manipulating the balls into the gaps to raise the Surrey 50 after 7.3 overs until Ravi Bopara landed huge blows with successive balls to remove Symonds and Younis. Symonds dragged on when attempting a push-drive then Khan played late - and slightly across - a full one to depart lbw and leave the score on 50 for 4.
The gloom deepened in SE11 when Ramprakash (24) went eight runs later to an unfortunate run out. Having been sent back by striker Usman Afzaal, Ramprakash slipped when trying to turn, allowing Bopara time to collect the return from cover and complete the dismissal. Left-hander Afzaal chipped in with 12 to take his side's total to 81 but Bopara came to the fore again by taking a running catch at point after Afzaal found a leading edge to a Scott Styris offcutter.
With 38 needed off the last five overs, left-handers Matt Spriegel and Chris Schofield hit out lustily but often without quality timing, though Spriegel did clatter one cover drive against Danish Kaneria to the extra-cover ropes as Surrey's 100 came up in the 18th over. But with 20 required from 12 balls Bopara switched ends to have Schofield (12) caught in the deep by Jaik Mickleburgh and then, with 15 needed off six, Chris Wright held his nerve to restrict Spriegel (22 not out) and Andre Nel (2) to four as Essex wrapped up their first win of the campaign.
Batting first under leaden skies and with the floodlights on from the start, Essex struggled for boundaries from the off on a pitch offering some help to the Surrey seamers. Indeed, after the loss of their captain Mark Pettini (3) to a direct-hit run out by Symonds from the 11th ball of the night, Essex were always seemingly up against it.
While six of their order made it into double figures, none of the Eagles batting line up could play a match-defining innings and ultimately their top-scorer proved to be Grant Flower with a modest 24 from 28 balls. Bopara hit the first of two Eagles sixes but, with his score on 12, the England allrounder walked across his stumps in aiming Jade Dernbach to leg but only succeeding in edging to Davies behind the stumps.
Ryan ten Doeschate (10) mowed across the line of a Schofield topspinner to go leg before and two overs later Flower's sliced drive against the legspinner picked out Symonds at long-on. Hamilton-Brown also finished with two scalps to his name after having Styris (17) and Matthew Walker (8) both caught in the deep in the space of four deliveries to make it 77 for 6.
Paceman Chris Tremlett returned for a new stint at the Vauxhall End to have James Foster (6) nonchalantly caught at long-off by Symonds with his first delivery, before Mickleburgh fell in the penultimate over skying a catch to the keeper off Dernbach. Though Masters (10) and Danish Kaneria (9) added valuable final-over runs, the visitors' total barely appeared a par score for the pitch, casting a damning light on Surrey's struggles.