Surrey kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the last eight of the NatWest T20 Blast after they held their nerve to beat Gloucestershire in a low-scoring thriller at The Oval.
Their sixth win of the campaign — secured with four balls to spare — was spearheaded by Sam Curran, who bowled a triple-wicket maiden and sent back Gloucestershire’s top four in the space of nine balls as the visitors posted a modest 130 for nine.
Aaron Finch hit the first ball of the reply from Graeme van Buuren for six but, in trying to repeat the feat, holed out and departed for seven.
Jason Roy’s travails continued when he spooned a Miles slower ball to midwicket to leave Surrey on 23 for two. Rory Burns, with only seven to his name, chipped to deep midwicket to crank up the pressure on Surrey’s middle order. With 62 still needed, Ollie Pope (16) was superbly caught by Kieran Noema-Barnett. Moises Henriques and Curran took the run-rate equation to 40 off the last five overs, only for Henriques to run himself out on 45. Rikki Clarke eased the short-term burden but, on 15, set off for a risky single and was run out. With 15 needed, Curran was bowled, then Stuart Meaker skittled.
Eight were required when David Payne overstepped to concede two runs for a free hit that Gareth Batty smeared through extra cover for two. Batty then sealed the two-wicket win.
Tonight is the final round of matches before the quarter-finals and Gloucestershire are the only team in the Southern Group unable to make the knock-out stages.
The top four will go through along with the leading four from the Northern Group. Middlesex skipper Eoin Morgan, whose side face Glamorgan tonight, said: “I can’t recall a T20 like it.”