Published: 12th March, 2019
Surrey’s lower order put on a superb show of batting grit to defeat Kent at the Kia Oval in 2013.
That chase, of just 139, looked to be going off the rails at 61/5 but all-rounders Azhar Mahmood and Zafar Ansari were the stars that took Surrey to victory with five balls remaining.
Mahmood ended with 47 runs from 31 balls while Ansari played much more of an anchor role with 30 runs from 36 deliveries after coming together with 79 still to get on a wicket that had proved difficult throughout the July evening.
It was a special comeback from Mahmood after seeing his four overs of bowling go for 41, the most expensive bowler in the match. It was spinners Gareth Batty and Ansari who had led the way with the ball. Experienced man Batty ended with figures of 2/14 while Ansari took 1/14 including the wicket of top scorer Fabian Cowdrey for exactly 50.
Batty dismissed fellow danger men Sam Billings and Alex Blake and our oldest rivals could only manage 139/4 thanks to an inspired effort in the field and with the ball from Surrey.
It looked likely to be enough to win the match after 9.1 overs of the chase however once Surrey openers Steven Davies (27) and Jason Roy (30) had been removed. With only two runs between middle order men Vikram Solanki, Kevin O’Brien and Gary Wilson, Surrey fell from 47/0 to 61/5 before Ansari & Mahmood came together.
That was when the match swung back in Surrey’s favour however as Ansari played a watchful role to stabilise the innings but Mahmood did what he is best known for with three fours and three sixes to time their portion of the chase expertly.
Surrey regularly showed similar resolve throughout that year’s competition, eventually reaching the final before suffering defeat to Northamptonshire at Edgbaston.