Surrey 106 for 2 (Sangakkara 40) beat Middlesex 105 for 9 (Malan 40, Ansari 3-17) by eight wickets
Many very real battles took place at the Kia Oval on Friday night. Spectators battled end-of-week queues on tubes and roads to make it into the ground, then further queues to make it to the equally congested bars. Stewards battled those spectators as they grew restless and unruly, sculpting their beer snakes and shouting their chants.
The crowd - barely a spare seat was visible - can claim emphatic victories in both. That they then stuck around in their thousands at play's end to watch and cheer some of their number sprint across the outfield - battling, as ever, those unfortunate, officious stewards - suggested that they felt somewhat shortchanged by the action in the middle.
Out in the middle, either side of the "mascot derby" - adults dressed as furry animals from sports club across London and perhaps the closest the crowd came to seeing actual sport - came the cricket. Chases do not come easier than the 106 Middlesex asked Surrey to knock off and the hosts were not about to break sweat in ensuring success. Middlesex were abject, for the second time in as many days, and have a seventh consecutive defeat in the format to show for it.
The similarities with their defeat to Sussex across town on Thursday were striking. Once again they batted first, lost wickets frequently, failed to clear the rope enough - seven times to Thursday's nine - and posted a target wildly under par. They did not score a boundary in the final 80 deliveries of their 120, and no batsman outside of their top three managed it. Sussex beat them with 28 balls to spare, Surrey 32.
Surrey must take some credit. They fielded like hawks and bowled parsimoniously, giving Middlesex no rope. The sight of Kumar Sangakkara, 38 this year and a wicketkeeper by trade, haring round from long-off, diving full stretch and flicking the ball up to James Burke in order to save two runs off the bowling of Sam Curran just about epitomised Surrey's effort.
Middlesex's start did not tell of the inadequacy to come. The runs didn't flow, but wickets didn't tumble. Paul Stirling skied Sam Curran to Zafar Ansari at cover before Dawid Malan, who pulled with disdain, shared 40 with the organised Nick Gubbins, who pulled then cut Burke for boundaries. The pair ran sharply as Malan looked to dominate but never quite could, carting Gareth Batty for a cow-bound six in his first over nevertheless.
But when Ansari joined Batty in the attack the runs dried up and the rot set in. Gubbins skied the first ball of Batty's second when trying to follow Malan to the short cow fence, taking on a strong breeze that held it up and saw him caught. Even then, a handy enough platform had been laid at 55 for 2.
Eoin Morgan scratched and couldn't settle before being bowled by Ansari as Middlesex contrived to lose six wickets for 13 runs and end all hopes of a contest. Simpson was bowled by Batty, Malan - who had acted as the innings' glue - sent Ansari straight to long-on and Neil Dexter attempted to turn a sharp turner to leg next ball and was bowled. Ansari was outstanding, varying his lengths trickily to make each delivery tough to hit.
Young bowlers - men who should not be required to bat in a game this short - Harry Podmore and Ravi Patel saw the line and were determined to limp over it, taking Middlesex to the last over with a series of singles and the occasional two before the latter was castled by Tom Curran. It had been a sorry showing indeed.
In reply, Jason Roy did as Jason Roy does, but Surrey were in no hurry. He flashed through off and attempted a switch hit, while his pinch-hitting partner Tom Curran - perhaps a permanent fixture up top in this format now - sent Gurjit Sandhu over long-off for six. He then moved to 16 with a French cut off Podmore, who gained his revenge by bowling him four balls later. Roy would follow, also bowled, attempting an audacious ramp.
Wise old heads Sangakkara and Gary Wilson new they needn't rush. Sangakkara strolled to 12 off 17 before hunting Patel. There was a sweep for four, a bunt over long-on for six and a pulled four. Stirling and Malan were given a bowl as the action wound down and the crowd ramped up, both were dispatched by Sangakkara and the game was up. Middlesex can forget this competition once more but Surrey - up to sixth now - might just be on the charge.