Battling Worcestershire Rapids suffered a three wicket reversal in their NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final with Surrey at the Kia Oval this afternoon.
The Rapids found it difficult to gain momentum during their innings on a slow-paced pitch after being put into bat as they set Surrey a 142 target with opener Richard Oliver (34) top-scoring.
Opener Jason Roy then hit the decisive knock of the match – a 20-ball half century in reply for Surrey – and was the only batsman on either side to completely conquer the conditions.
But after his onslaught, the Rapids in typically determined fashion made the home side work hard for their victory with the ever reliable duo of Jack Shantry and Joe Leach picking up two wickets apiece.
It meant Surrey were given a real scare before eventually reaching 144-7 in the 17th over.
Worcestershire kept faith with the side which overcame Derbyshire Falcons in their final North Group encounter at New Road eight days ago.
The Rapids batted under leaden skies and a half full Oval and skipper Daryl Mitchell collected the first boundary via a cut for four off spinner Tilakaratne Dilshan in an opening over costing nine runs.
But after making 10 out of 19 Mitchell was run out in the third over bowled by Jade Dernbach. He flicked a Dernbach full toss to Matt Dunn at short fine leg and failed to beat the throw to the non-striker's end.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore straight drove Dernbach for four and Oliver's first boundary came with a cover-drive at Azhar Mahmood's expense as Worcestershire ended the powerplay on 37-1.
Spinner Robin Peterson was then brought into the attack and in his first over Kohler-Cadmore (13) was bowled via an inside edge.
Paceman Matt Dunn replaced Peterson and he bowled Colin Munro for five after he tried to cut a delivery which knocked out his middle stump with the total on 47-3 in the ninth over.
It was Munro's final innings of his current spell with the Raids although he will be back at New Road later in the month with New Zealand 'A' to take on the England Lions.
The Rapids collected 10 runs off a Gareth Batty over to reach 58-3 by the half-way stage.
Ross Whiteley hit the first six of the innings – over mid wicket off Batty – but was bowled for 17 off 11 balls trying to repeat the shot against the former Worcestershire player at 82-4.
Wicket-keeper Ben Cox got off the mark with a back foot cover drive for four off Batty but added only one more run before he was bowled by Dunn.
Oliver made a solid 34 from 36 balls before becoming the fifth player of the innings to be bowled – by the returning Peterson in the 15th over.
Leach hit a quickfire 20 – including a six over mid wicket off Dunn which brought up the 100 in the 16th over – before being bowled by a slow full toss from Dernbach.
Dernback struck again as Shaaiq Choudhry (4) was the victim of a splendid catch low to his right by wicket-keeper Gary Wilson.
Jack Shantry (7) had time to drill Mahmood over mid wicket for six in the final over before being bowled by the next delivery as Worcestershire closed on 141-9.
Roy began the Surrey innings with several boundaries and had scored 34 of an opening partnership of 35 with Dilshan before the latter went for a scoop shot off Shantry and was caught by Choudhry off a skier behind keeper Cox.
Roy went to 52 off 20 deliveries with three sixes and eight fours out of 67-1 with a six over long-off off New Zealand paceman Mitchell McClenaghan in the fifth over.
Shantry ended his innings without addition to his score when he was caught at mid-on by Mitchell. Leach got in on the wicket-taking act when Surrey skipper Garry Wilson (12) perished off a skier to Shantry at mid-wicket.
The 100 came up in the 11th over before Kevin Pietersen (29) chipped Leach to Kohler-Cadmore at mid on with Surrey 104-4.
Brett D'Oliveira's direct hit from extra cover then ran out Rory Burns (2) after he set off for a quick single off Leach.
McClenaghan collected his first wicket when Mahmood (9) fell to a good catch by Leach at fine leg off a top edge at 121-6 in the 15th.
Seven runs later Zafar Ansari (2) gloved Munro to Cox before the Lions edged nervously to victory.