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Surrey beat Sharks by four wickets

Surrey booked their place in the knockout stages after beating Sussex Sharks by four wickets at the Kia Oval to reel off their fifth successive south group win.

Set 166, opener Will Jacks broke the back of the chase when he followed up 55 against Middlesex on Monday with a blistering 65 off just 39 balls before Jamie Overton, who was dropped on 12, made an undefeated 40 to guide Surrey to a four-wicket victory with five balls to spare.

When Jacks was bowled by leg-spinner Will Beer in the 12th over, having just hit the leg-spinner for his third six, Surrey needed 62 off eight overs. Beer, who finished with 3 for 34, picked up his third wicket when Rikki Clarke was caught in the covers in the 14th over but Overton and Jamie Smith got the job done, adding 50 in five overs.

Smith (16) drilled Ollie Robinson to extra cover in the penultimate over but Overton leg-glanced David Wiese the next ball to the rope for the winning runs. He hit four fours a six off Robinson, having faced just 22 deliveries.

Surrey are now two points clear of Kent and one more win should secure a home quarter-final. Sussex, who are third after a second successive defeat, are one of three teams with a realistic chance of joining them in the knockout stages although they were left to regret dropping Overton when he was missed at long on by Robinson.

Jacks had a good night. He had earlier removed the dangerous Phil Salt with his first ball then with the bat cleared the rope three times and also hit six fours on a pitch which gathered pace under the floodlights. Overton, coming in at no.7, paraded some impressive ball striking to make sure Surrey always had their chase under control.  

Earlier, skipper Luke Wright raised his competition aggregate to 350 run by top scoring with 45 in Sussex’s 165 for seven after they were put in.

Wright found it tough to accelerate against accurate bowling and when he was deceived by Reece Topley’s slower ball halfway through the 16th over it left Sussex 108 for five. But the Sharks plundered 55 runs off the last 27 balls with Ravi Bopara providing the impetus when he struck Gus Atkinson for three successive leg-side sixes in the 19th over during a nine-ball cameo of 24.

South African David Wiese made 33 before falling to a superb relay catch on the mid-wicket boundary in the final over when Jamie Smith parried a ball at full stretch which looked like clearing the rope, enabling Atkinson to complete the catch.

Wright had lost his opening partner Salt to the seventh ball of the match when Salt, released from England’s one-day squad to play, was leg before trying to slog sweep off-spinner Jacks’ first ball.

Wright held the top order together as Calum MacLeod and Delray Rawlins departed after getting starts. MacLeod (22) was yorked by Liam Plunkett during the former England international’s first bowl in this country since last year’s World Cup final. Plunkett then held a well-judged catch at long off to remove Rawlins (12) in the 13th over.

Surrey would have been pleased with their efforts until Bopara and Wiese came together and left them needing their highest score at the Kia Oval this season but they accomplished it with relative ease.

Jason Gillespie said: "We scrapped our way to 165 which we thought would be a decent score if we bowled well, but between overs 7-10 Surrey got in front of us and they could stay in control without having to take too many gambles. 

"We had one or two chances which we needed to take and were probably 10-15 runs short but it's gone and we have to pick ourselves up for what is a big game now against a really good Middlesex side on Friday."

Watch all of the highlights from this match here: