Essex 188 for 4 beat Surrey 187 for 6 by six wickets
A magnificent unbeaten century from Scott Styris carried Essex to a thrilling six-wicket victory over Surrey at Chelmsford to keep them on course for a quarter-final place in the Friends Provident t20. The 34-year-old smashed 106 from only 50 balls to see his side home with just one delivery to spare.
They had arrived at the final over needing 22 to surpass Surrey's 187 for 6and Styris duly obliged by dispatching Andrew Symonds for two sixes, two fours and a double to leave the field to a standing ovation, his opponents shell-shocked.
Styris' astonishing display of hitting contained eight sixes and half a dozen fours as Essex achieved a victory that had looked beyond them when they reached the halfway stage on 65 for two. None of the visiting bowlers remotely looked like halting Styris' charge as he left spectators taking evasive action as the ball rained down upon them.
Tim Phillips provided the New Zealander with his main support, the pair adding 91 in only seven overs before he was caught at wide mid on for 30. Phillips was removed from the action by the last ball of the 19th over to leave Styris taking centre stage to grab the glory.
Earlier, opener Steven Davies had seemed to have paved the way for a Surrey victory as he dominated the innings with a superb 89 from 50 balls. It represented his best score in the competition and contained 11 fours and three sixes.
He eventually fell on the deep midwicket boundary to provide Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria with one of three wickets that he picked up at a cost of 32. Davies shared in a second-wicket stand of 64 in 38 balls with Jason Roy before playing the leading role in a partnership of 82 in eight overs with Mark Ramprakash, who made 35.
But as the game unfolded, Davies' efforts were overshadowed by the power and majesty of Styris as Essex were able to celebrate their fourth successive victory in the competition and their first in front of their own fans. Symonds conceded 45 in 2.5 overs as Styris embarked on his late match-winning surge.