Surrey into T20 finals as Jason Roy has a blast

Worcestershire 141-9 Surrey 144-7 (Surrey win by 3 wkts)
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The Independent Online

As Kevin Pietersen prepared to pack his bags as a gun for hire and head off to play in the Twenty20 Caribbean Premier League, his team-mate Jason Roy produced one of his trademark top-order assaults to spearhead Surrey's qualification for the NatWest T20 Blast finals day. Pietersen will be tempted to return to these shores from the West Indian beaches and play in the showpiece.

Roy's 52 from 23 balls, including three sixes and eight fours, ensured a three-wicket win and took his run tally to 619 from 14 innings in this summer's Twenty20 at an average of 47.61. He helped Surrey overhaul Worcestershire's modest 141 for 9 with 3.3 overs to spare.

There was a little bit of a wobble after Roy's exit, with Worcestershire fighting hard in the field to take seven Surrey wickets on a slowish pitch, but Robin Peterson finished matters in the 17th over by swinging Shaaiq Choudhry's left-arm spin for six and then driving the next ball through mid-off for four.

After the six-over powerplay at the start, Surrey had rushed to 68 for 2 thanks to Roy's fireworks. At the four-over mark, Roy had made 46 from 19 balls out of Surrey's first 49 runs as the two proven world-class batsmen in the county's top three, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Pietersen, were forced to take a back seat.

Sri Lankan veteran Dilshan was out for one, caught at fine leg as he attempted one of his famous "Dilscoops" against Jack Shantry's medium pace, and Pietersen – apart from one gorgeous on-driven four – was initially content to watch from the other end as Roy laid into the bowling.

Mitch McClenaghan's first two overs went for 33 runs as he bore the brunt of Roy's strokemaking. When Roy was out, mis-hitting Shantry to mid-on from the fourth ball of the sixth over, it was left to Pietersen and the rest of Surrey's international-packed middle order to complete the job.

Pietersen hit 29 from 27 balls, with five fours, but he then pulled Joe Leach to mid-on at the start of the 12th over and Surrey made rather heavy weather of the remaining chase.

Surrey were 104 for 4 when Pietersen departed, with Gary Wilson already back in the dugout after he was caught off Leach for 12, and when Rory Burns was brilliantly run out for two by Brett D'Oliveira's direct hit from cover, the scoreboard suddenly showed 106 for 5 and the Rapids sensed they had half a chance.

Azhar Mahmood swung one six before top-edging a hook at McClenaghan to long leg on nine, and Zafar Ansari was also undone by the short ball, gloving Colin Munro to keeper Ben Cox for two. From 128 for 7, there were no further alarms for Surrey.

At Chelmsford Warwickshire beat Essex by 19 runs after scoring 192 for 2 and restricting Essex to 178 for 5.