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Middlesex 209/3

Surrey 172/9

Captain Dawid Malan scored his third T20 hundred as Middlesex made it two wins out of two in the Vitality Blast South Group with a 37-run victory over Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Malan’s 117 off 57 balls was the cornerstone of Middlesex’s 209 for 3 and when Tom Helm claimed the key wicket of Aaron Finch Surrey were up against it. Ollie Pope made 47 but with Ben Foakes out with a side injury Surrey looked a batsman short. They finished on 172 for 9 and have lost both games so far.

A crowd of 23,708 had earlier given Malan a standing ovation after a magnificent innings which included seven sixes and 11 fours. With Steve Eskinazi he put on 55 in the power-play and they had plundered 131 from 11 after taking 22 off veteran off-spinner Gareth Batty.

Batty wasn’t the only bowler to suffer. In his first game since helping England win the World Cup, Liam Plunkett’s two overs cost 24 while Imran Tahir conceded 40 runs in his spell, although he did have the consolation of removing former South Africa team-mate AB de Villiers for just three.

Tom Curran made a much-needed breakthrough in the 12th over when he bowled Eskinazi (42) round his legs and Tahir struck in the next over with de Villiers was leg before trying to reverse sweep.

Surrey dragged things back in the next six overs when they only conceded 38 runs, but Middlesex produced a big finish with 23 coming off the 19th from Jade Dernbach. Curran, who was the pick of the Surrey attack with 2 for 29, picked up Malan in the final over off a top-edged a pull while Scott provided added impetus at the end with 35 off 24 balls.

Middlesex took control by sending back both openers with 21 on the board. Will Jacks drove to mid-wicket in the first over from Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Helm had Finch superbly caught by John Simpson diving to his left off an inside edge for nine.

Pope looked in superb form despite playing just two second XI T20s on Monday as preparation after three months recovering from surgery to his left shoulder.

The 21-year-old hit a fluent 47 off 31 balls with four boundaries and two sixes before he was caught on the mid-wicket fence – one of four wickets for Toby Roland-Jones who also ended Curran’s cameo of 31 from 17.

Middlesex’s only concern was the sight of de Villiers going off after injuring a hand trying to take a diving catch.

THE TURNING POINT: Surrey needed a big contribution from Aaron Finch, who made a match-winning 117 in the corresponding fixture last season, so when he was superbly caught behind by John Simpson Middlesex were in charge.

BALL OF THE MATCH: Tom Helm bowled with good pace and the delivery which seamed back and took Finch’s inside edge went a long way towards settling the contest in Middlesex’s favour.

THE UNSUNG HERO: Steve Eskinazi more than played his part for Middlesex with 42 off 31 balls during the stand of 131 for the first wicket with Dawid Malan.

WHAT’S NEXT: Middlesex head to Cheltenham to face Gloucestershire on Thursday while another Oval sell-out will watch Surrey take on Glamorgan that evening.

Match reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.

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