Will Jacks and Hashim Amla shared a century opening stand as Surrey took a huge step towards the Vitality Blast knockout stages with a 30-run win over London rivals Middlesex at Lord’s.
Jacks brutalised the home attack, hitting five sixes and three fours in a stunning half-century and while Amla took a more classical approach his 67 proved the backbone of a huge total of 218-5.
Stevie Eskinazi struck his fourth half century of the competition and there was an encouraging debut from Joe Cracknell in Middlesex’s valiant chase, but they came up well short.
Victory takes Surrey top of the South Group on net run rate, while the hosts will now need three wins from three to have any hopes of advancing.
It didn’t take home skipper Steven Finn long to regret his decision to bat first, Amla unfurling five fours in the first three overs as Surrey teed off from ball one.
Jacks then caught the mood catching and passing his partner with a string of maximums. One six off Tom Helm was an extraordinary shot over cover point and 59 were on the board by the end of the powerplay.
The introduction of spin did nothing to stop the carnage, Jacks smiting a huge six off Luke Hollman which ended up somewhere in the building works at the Nursery End.
That was the first of four lost balls as the 21-year-old raised his 50 in just 26 balls. He perished soon afterwards caught at long-off from the bowling of Murtagh, but the wicket brought no respite.
Amla reached 50 with his first six and forced another ball change when belting Sowter into the Mound Stand, before the leg-spinner bowled him with a quicker ball.
Even then the assault was relentless with England Test opener Rory Burns blasting three sixes in his 25 from 10 balls, 21 coming off one over from all-rounder Martin Andersson.
And Jamie Overton rubbed salt in the wounds with 29 from 12, including the biggest six of all high into the upper tier of the Grandstand as 80 came from the last five overs.
Needing almost 11 runs an over, Middlesex looked to their leading run scorer in the tournament Eskinazi for early impetus and he obliged, hitting two sixes off Reece Topley’s second over, one a pull into the Mound Stand, the other a glorious straight hit into the members’ seats.
Max Holden followed suit, planting Gus Atkinson over the ropes at mid-wicket before being dropped at backward point off the next ball. It was a brief reprieve as he holed out to Jamie Smith on the cover boundary from the last ball of the over.
His departure brought Cracknell to the wicket and he announced himself by depositing an Overton delivery onto the top of the scorer’s box.
The stand raised 52 in 35 balls, but with the rate required heading northwards Cracknell advanced down the pitch to Gareth Batty and was stumped for 28.
Eskinazi continued to hit out, reaching his half century from 27 balls with his fifth six. And John Simpson, promoted to No 4 after his heroics in Saturday’s win over Hampshire struck successive maximums over cow corner off Batty, who then limped off with a hamstring problem.
The 50-partnership came from 27 balls but Simpson (31) perished to the spin of Dan Moriarty (2-37) in the ever increasingly desperate chase for runs.
And the host’s defeat was sealed when Eskinazi (77) was run out by Overton’s direct hit in the following over.