Surrey 187 for 5 (Evans 70, Roy 50) beat Lancashire 174 for 6 (Croft 55, Jordan 2-28) by 13 runs
Inaugural T20 champions Surrey are through to Finals Day a week on Saturday having just about defended a target of 188 to win a high-scoring thriller against Lancashire by 13 runs at Emirates Old Trafford.
The 2003 winners inflicted a first home T20 defeat upon the Lightning in 22 games dating back to late 2020, and they did it as the hosts slipped from 124 for 2 in the 14th over of their chase to finish on 174 for 6.
At 119 for 2 after 13 overs, 200 was likely for Surrey. However, Lancashire squeezed well, and wicketless Luke Wells conceded only 26 from four overs of legspin.
Sunil Narine only facing two balls from No. 7 and fellow overseas bowler Abbott not batting at all for Surrey was a surprise. The latter, for example, crashed a 34-ball century earlier in the competition.
Evans hit three sixes as 58 for one came off the powerplay, two of them scooped over fine-leg in the same over from two-wicket seamer Tom Bailey and the other smashed over midwicket. Evans reached his fifty off 28 balls shortly afterwards and helped his side to 93 for 1 after 10 overs, by which stage Roy was settling.
Phil Salt and Croft both let boundaries slip through their legs in the outfield, though the latter ironically led to the wicket of Evans, who was bowled by Liam Livingstone as the score fell to 104 for 2 in the 12th over. Had Croft not misfielded, it would have only been one and Roy on strike.
Roy pulled Livingstone for a big six on the way to a 33-ball fifty. But he fell to a smart catch from Croft at cover off Luke Wood, with Surrey 140 for 3 after 15 overs.
Despite their ground fielding been sketchy – Surrey’s was worse – Lancashire caught well. Dane Vilas took a superb low catch at long-off to help Bailey remove Sam Curran late on.
Buttler started Lancashire’s pursuit by lofting his second ball for six over long-on off Will Jacks’ offspin, and they got going well at 31 without loss after three overs.
Salt holed out to mid-off against Abbott as Lancashire, like Surrey had done, reached 50 for one after five overs. Salt’s wicket brought Croft to the crease, and he hit four of his first 10 balls to the boundary, outshining Buttler.
Having that said, the England captain then launched Narine’s first two balls for six over long-on to blow that theory to pieces, more importantly taking Lightning to 69 for 1 in the seventh over.
That became 94 for 1 after 10 with Buttler 41. That Buttler only added one more run before slicing Dan Moriarty’s left-arm spin to gully – 97 for 2 in the 11th over – boosted Surrey’s chances of a revival. And it proved a big moment.
Having shared 62 with Buttler, Croft remained but Jordan led a squeeze in the rate just as the home bowlers had done earlier. Narine had Livingstone miscuing cheaply to deep midwicket, and Lancashire needed 64 off six overs at 124 for 3.
Croft reached 50 off 32 balls shortly afterwards and while Daryl Mitchell was dropped on 4 in the deep, the target became 47 off four overs and later 29 off two.
Jordan yorked Croft and had Vilas caught at long-leg in the penultimate, also running out Wells – 168 for 6 – leaving Abbott with room for manoeuvre. He finished with 1 for 22 from four overs.