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Dernbach salutes ‘incredible’ Finch and Roy

Duo wow Oval crowd with stunning hitting.

Surrey captain Jade Dernbach said he had never “seen anything like it” after Aaron Finch and Jason Roy smashed Middlesex out of the Oval.

Chasing 222, Surrey won by nine wickets as Finch and Roy thrilled a crowd of 24,000 with some incredible hitting.

Finch finished on a stunning 117 not out from 52 balls, while Roy had made 84 from only 37 when he swung seamer James Fuller to deep midwicket off the fifth ball of the 14th over.

“That was unbelievable. I think we have just witnessed two of the best T20 players in the world putting on a show in front of a full house and I’m not sure if I’ve seen anything like it. Wow!” said Dernbach.

“The clean hitting of Aaron and Jason was incredible to watch and what they both did out there is just pure talent.

“They both trust in their ability to hit every ball for six if it is in their zones and although Middlesex’s bowlers clearly had some good plans they simply couldn’t do anything to stop Aaron and Jason tonight.”

Even Paul Stirling’s spectacular 58-ball 109 was overshadowed as Finch and Roy plundered 194 for Surrey’s first wicket – scoring 98 in the initial six-over powerplay alone – to spearhead a victory achieved with four overs to spare.

It gave Surrey a fourth win from eight South Group games, while Middlesex have now lost seven from nine.

Australian powerhouse Finch, the world’s number one T20 batsman, reached his half-century in just 16 balls – unsurprisingly a Surrey record – but England white-ball opener Roy was hardly a slouch, racing to his own 50 in 24 balls.

Finch and Roy’s partnership was also a Surrey T20 first wicket record, beating the 187 they had themselves put on against Kent at the same venue two years ago.

Tom Barber’s first over, the second of the innings, went for 17 as Finch plundered three successive fours. James Harris, who bowled the third, saw it cost 23 runs as Finch smashed his first, second and fourth balls for six.

In all, Finch hit eight sixes and 11 fours in his sixth T20 hundred, and second of this Blast campaign, while Roy’s final tally was seven sixes and seven fours.

Nic Maddinson then came in to keep Finch company until the win was completed, swinging Barber for a six of his own high over midwicket in his unbeaten 13.

Earlier, Middlesex’s 221 for five equalled their previous highest total in T20 cricket – the 221 for two scored against Sussex at Hove in 2015.

Stirling, dropped off the first ball of the match by Maddinson at cover when he lifted a back foot force at Dernbach, soon settled into the destructive hitting which is such a feature of his white-ball batting.

Nick Gubbins, however, did most of the early scoring with four fours in a quickfire 20 before he was held on the deep midwicket boundary by Tom Curran off Dernbach.

Stirling then took over, swatting Mat Pillans’ first ball for six and square-cutting his next for four.

Curran was driven for two offside fours and the six-over powerplay ended with the same bowler being thumped over long on for six as Stirling went to 34 and Middlesex accelerated to 67 for one.

Gareth Batty’s off-spin was also savaged, with sixes lofted wide of long-off and pulled over midwicket.

Batty’s next ball, in the 11th over, disappeared over long-on for another six and the Northern Irishman reached 99 with his seventh and final maximum, a massive blow launched off Will Jacks’ off-spin over wide midwicket.

A single from the next ball took him to three figures, and there were two more fours off Rikki Clarke before the veteran all-rounder bowled him leg stump, making room, with the final ball of the 16th over.

Stevie Eskinazi made a useful 27-ball 31 to support Stirling in a second wicket stand of 111 before giving Clarke a swirling catch off his own bowling with a skied swipe in the 14th over.

That left Middlesex 136 for two and, although Eoin Morgan was run out for nought without facing a ball, after a mix-up with Stirling, runs continued to come quickly as Fuller thumped Dernbach for two sixes.

When Stirling finally fell, a recalled James Franklin hit out merrily in an eight-ball 21 but his and Fuller’s efforts would be in vain.

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