Surrey 143 for 8 (Foakes 44, Walter 2-13) tied with Essex 143 for 6 (ten Doeschate 35, Borthwick 2-34)
Ben Foakes' classy 44 from 37 balls could not prevent Vitality Blast holders Essex Eagles from clinching a thrilling tie against Surrey in an extraordinary finish at The Oval when they grabbed wickets from the last two balls of the innings.
Replying to Essex's 143 for 6, in which Ryan ten Doeschate top-scored with 35, Surrey always looked capable of chasing down their victory target, especially when Foakes was there as wickets kept falling at the other end.
An equation of 69 from the last 10 overs became 33 from five and, ultimately, 20 from the final three. Gus Atkinson, having struck Simon Harmer for a straight six, was then leg before for 14 to Cameron Delport's medium pace from the second ball of the 19th over.
Nine runs were needed from the last over, and Foakes made Surrey favourites by clipping Matt Quinn's first ball to square leg for four. A couple of singles and then a two left the scores tied - but, with the field up except for long leg, Foakes hooked Quinn straight to Paul Walter on the boundary rope.
Quinn's final ball was full, James Taylor missed it, and keeper Adam Wheater took the ball well, standing up. Wheater whipped off the bails but, with Taylor still in his crease, the ball was then thrown to the bowlers' end to run out Matt Dunn - who had sprinted down the pitch, backing up - to confirm the tie with Surrey finishing on 143 for 8.
A disappointed Foakes said: "That's a game we should have won. Twice in those closing overs we put ourselves in a good position to win it, so we have to be honest with ourselves and say we should have got over the line.
"I thought Matt Quinn was bluffing me when he kept looking at the one fielder they put outside the ring, and I was expecting him to go straight and full at that stage. So it caught me a bit by surprise and he also has the ability to bowl his bumper a bit quicker."
It was a clever piece of bowling from Quinn, and he also produced exactly the right ball - full and just outside off stump - to defeat Taylor's efforts to get a bat on the final delivery. Throughout Surrey's innings, indeed, Essex showed the experience of T20 champions by hanging in and regularly taking wickets to stall the home side's progress.
Delport's mix of cutters and changes of pace, bowling his four overs straight through after being introduced for the 13th over, proved vital for Essex. The South African even took a wicket with his first ball, when Rory Burns chipped to midwicket, and although pulled for four by Atkinson in the 17th over he ended up with the superb figures of 2 for 22.
Essex used seven bowlers in all, with Walter also taking two important wickets in his two overs - those of Laurie Evans, caught at extra cover for 19 in the seventh over, and Jamie Smith, who hit a short ball to Harmer at cover to go for 30 in the 12th over.
On a day when spin was a big part of the strategy of both sides, Harmer's accurate offspin accounted for Scott Borthwick, caught at deep square leg for 13, and Aron Nijjar's four overs of slow left-arm were also economical.
Surrey, although without a total of 13 players through injury and England calls, played a smart game themselves in the field by employing big boundaries and cleverly employing the spin of Gareth Batty, Borthwick and Dan Moriarty to bowl more than half the 20 overs.
But both Dunn and Atkinson also bowled excellently, with fast bowler Dunn removing the dangerous Delport for six in the second over, caught at mid-off, and Atkinson, a 22-year old seamer in his first season, having Dan Lawrence caught at mid-off for 7 mistiming an attempted lofted drive in the eighth over.
Ten Doeschate had only 18 when reprieved but hit two legside sixes from successive balls in the next over, when Borthwick offered first a full toss and then one that was dropped short. Another full toss, though, from the last ball of the over, proved to be Ten Doeschate's downfall. Advancing to meet it, he could only mishit high to deep square leg.
Earlier Varun Chopra had pulled one huge six off Dunn, a magnificent blow, before on 16 pulling flat to Borthwick at deep square-leg to give seamer Taylor his first T20 wicket in the fifth over.
Tom Westley was bowled for 20 by a quicker ball from Borthwick and, after Lawrence departed at 52 for 4, Ten Doeschate and Wheater decided to rebuild the innings with a series of singles and scampered twos in a partnership of 57 in 8.3 overs.