Ben Foakes batting for Surrey
Ben Foakes has scored 108 runs in three innings for Surrey in this summer’s T20 Blast

Ben Foakes hit a cool unbeaten 60 as Surrey went second in the T20 Blast South Group with a six-wicket win over Middlesex in a low-scoring contest.

The game looked on when Middlesex reduced the hosts to 23-4 at the Kia Oval in response to their 113-9.

But Foakes and Jamie Smith (38 not out) steadied the nerves with an unbroken 93-run fifth-wicket stand.

Earlier, group leaders Kent registered their third victory as they beat 2019 winners Essex by 29 runs.

Spin to the fore for Surrey

Surrey’s victory – their second of the T20 Blast campaign – lifted them above their rivals and Sussex to leave them well in the race for the quarter-finals at the midway point of the group stage.

As well as the batting of Foakes and Smith, spin played a key role for Surrey as the Middlesex innings failed to find any real momentum.

Veteran off-spinner Gareth Batty took 3-18, while all-rounder Will Jacks did not concede a boundary in taking 2-16 with his off-spin.

Jacks removed both openers Stevie Eskinazi and Max Holden as Middlesex slipped to 55-3 before Batty ripped out the middle order as the visitors stumbled to 113-9.

Middlesex threatened to turn the game on its head as Steven Finn (2-21) and Nathan Sowther (2-16) took two wickets apiece to leave Surrey wobbling on 23-4.

Foakes batted with a calm authority, however, to hit eight boundaries in his 50-ball 60 as he and Smith, who hit four boundaries, steered Surrey to their target with 11 balls to spare.

Bell-Drummond stars at Kent beat holders

Daniel Bell-Drummond was the star of the first game of the double-header, hitting 81 off 45 balls, with a six and 11 fours, as they piled up 192-6.

The Kent skipper also contributed a fine, tumbling catch and a run-out as the Eagles fell well short on 163-7.

Ryan ten Doeschate made 42, but Essex have failed to win any of their first five games in this year’s competition.

And they will need to produce something special in the remaining five to have a chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

Bell-Drummond and England’s Zak Crawley shared an opening Kent stand of 83 in 6.3 overs before the latter was well caught in the deep by Shane Snater off Simon Harmer for 26.

When Bell-Drummond was lbw attempting a leg-side hit, Kent were 151-3 and Alex Blake hammered four sixes in an unbeaten 52 off 35 balls to add the final flourish.

Cameron Delport and Varun Chopra gave Essex a good start, but Delport was bowled through his legs as he attempted a switch-hit off Imran Qayyum.

Bell-Drummond’s catch at backward point sent Tom Westley on his way and Qayyum also had Chopra stumped to finish with 3-25.

Paul Walter lasted only two balls as he was beaten by Bell-Drummond’s direct hit at the bowler’s end and although ten Doeschate twice cleared the rope, Essex had too much to do after he was well taken by Crawley in the deep in the 17th over to leave them 133-6.

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