Tailenders Nick Kimber and Matt Dunn swung and swiped Surrey to a miracle Royal London Cup tie against Warwickshire in front of a captivated Kia Oval crowd of almost 5,000.
Kimber thumped six sixes and six fours in a remarkable 51-ball 84 and fellow seamer Dunn then hit Ollie Hannon-Dalby for two sixes in his 34 before, with the scores level and every fielder up in the ring, he was bowled by a Liam Norwell yorker trying to hit a winning blow from the first ball of the final over.
Dunn, with just 19 runs in total from his previous 13 one-day matches, almost got Surrey home after Kimber had been dismissed with 31 more runs needed from the last 27 balls as they chased Warwickshire’s 293 for 5.
Surrey’s No 11 Yousuf Majid, an 18-year-old playing his first senior innings, remained 5 not out in Surrey’s 293 all out but it was Kimber, 21, and with a top score of just 27 from his previous five List A appearances, who was the main hero of the hour after seeing his team struggle initially to 184 for 7.
Earlier wicketkeeper-batsman Michael Burgess starred against his native county and he and Indian international all-rounder Krunal Pandya were the stand-out performers for Warwickshire.
Kimber hinted at an extraordinary turnaround when took three sixes in one Rob Yates over and he also struck six fours in a brilliant effort that was only cut short when Pandya bowled him through an attempted cut with his left-arm spin in the 46th over.
But Dunn would not accept defeat in his own 19-ball effort, drawing the scores level with a single off Pandya from the last ball of the penultimate over, immediately after swinging him to mid wicket for his second four.
Norwell’s yorker denied Surrey a memorable win but, thanks to Kimber and Dunn, it was still a great display by a youthful Surrey line-up. For the third Royal London fixture running, they fielded an entirely uncapped team featuring nine players aged 24 or under. Nico Reifer, 21, also hit a defiant 53 that included two big sixes over long on, off Hannon-Dalby and Norwell.
Burgess, who was born in Epsom and played for Surrey from under-13 to Second XI level but then represented Leicestershire and Sussex before moving to Edgbaston in 2019, hit a classy List A best 93 from only 78 balls, with two sixes and nine fours, and put on 160 in 25.4 overs for the fourth wicket with Pandya, whose often powerful 74 occupied 82 balls.
Their stand rallied Warwickshire after they had stalled to 89 for 3 in the 21st over, after opting to bat first in gloriously sunny conditions, and was a List A fourth wicket record for Warwickshire against Surrey. It beat the previous mark of 108, between Jim Troughton and Alex Loudon, at Croydon’s Whitgift School in 2005.
Warwickshire lost Dom Sibley for 5 in the seventh over, leg-before to Dunn trying to whip a straight ball towards mid wicket, but fellow opener Yates followed up his 87 in Warwickshire’s win against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham last Tuesday by scoring a solid 66-ball 54 in a second wicket alliance of 62 with Will Rhodes.
Yates dominated the partnership, completing his half-century with a rasping square cut for four off Conor McKerr just before falling to the same bowler later in the over, skying to mid on.
And, two balls later at the start of the 21st over, off spinner Amar Virdi had Rhodes caught at the wicket, pushing defensively, for 15.
Virdi impressed in a ten-over spell of 1 for 35 but Burgess and Pandya both batted carefully at first to rebuild the innings before accelerating effortlessly in the second half of their superb stand.
Warwickshire’s total was 191 for 3 after 40 overs, but 102 runs were plundered from the last ten overs as Pandya swung two sixes to add to his five fours and Burgess took successive legside sixes off McKerr before mis-hitting the next ball to deep mid wicket.
Ethan Brookes and Matt Lamb both scored useful runs to further boost the total, with McKerr’s ten overs eventually costing 79 as the fast bowler bore the brunt of Warwickshire’s late assault.
Surrey’s reply got off to a bad start, with Ben Geddes dragging a widish swinging ball from Hannon-Dalby into his own stumps to go for 9 in the fifth over and the total quickly slipping to 31 for 3 as Ryan Patel edged Hannon-Dalby to first slip on 14, soon after pulling him over mid wicket for six, and Cameron Steel was pinned leg-before for 0 by Craig Miles.
All-rounder Tom Lawes, 19, had earlier athletically caught and bowled Pandya and acquitted himself well with the ball and now, in at No 5, batted well for 28 before lifting a catch off Rhodes’s second ball.
And Reifer then joined 23-year old Josh Blake in a fifth wicket stand of 57 before Blake thin-edged a swipe at Miles to keeper Burgess to fall for a 55-ball 40.
Reifer’s maiden List A half-century ended when Lamb dived to pull off a fine catch at deep mid wicket, and Norwell was again the successful bowler when McKerr (2) edged to Burgess. Virdi was run out for 8, to make it 223 for 8, but by then Kimber’s big hitting had given Surrey a chance – and they almost pulled it off.