Surrey 128 for 8 (Napier 3-16) beat Essex 111 for 9 (Batty 3-20) by 17 runs
Surrey opened their Friends Life t20 campaign with a 17-run victory over Essex at The Oval. The hosts managed just 128 for 8 but defended that total, despite the visitors starting their chase with a 44-run opening partnership between Mark Pettini and Ravi Bopara in just six overs.
When Pettini edged Jade Dernbach behind the wicket, the complexion of the game altered and by the time the score had been doubled, Essex were in deep trouble. The visitors lost seven wickets in 10 overs, three of them to the spin of Gareth Batty, who finished with 3 for 20.
Batty trapped Owais Shah leg before wicket and two overs later gained the prized scalp of Bopara, who top-edged a reverse sweep and was caught by Matt Spriegel at backward point for 28. James Franklin completed Batty's haul when he skied off a leading edge to mid-off as the visitors' reply fell away alarmingly.
As the panic button was pressed, a horrendous mix-up between Graham Napier and Franklin found both batsmen at the same end, with Napier departing for one as the innings disintegrated.
Surrey's significant partnership came from their sixth wicket pairing of Gary Wilson and Zafar Ansari, who added 40 after coming together with the score on 68 for five shortly after the halfway stage of the innings.
Wilson top-scored with a run-a-ball 33 which included three of the 15 boundaries recorded by the home side, whilst Jason Roy contributed 22 from 19 balls. The pick of the Essex attack was Napier, who found line and length from the start to pose problems for the home batsmen throughout his four overs.
Napier struck twice with successive deliveries in his opening over, taking a return catch off Rory Hamilton-Brown who skied the ball off a leading edge before Zander du Bruyn fell first ball when he lost his middle stump to a text book yorker.
Napier ended with the impressive figures of three for 16 from his four overs, while last year's leading bowler in the competition - left-arm spinner Tim Phillips - claimed 2 for 19. Phillips was to later finish unbeaten on 16, one of only three Essex batsmen to reach double figures in this South Group game.