Blast From The Past: Essex v Surrey


This is the seventh and final part of a series, with a look back at a memorable game from the past against each of Essex’s 2024 home Vitality Blast opponents. This last instalment recalls an unbelievable batting display against Surrey in 2019.
Essex (226-4) beat Surrey (174-7) by 52 runs
Chelmsford County Ground, 19 July 2019
Scorecard: View Here

When the scorecard reads that all but one member of the opposition bowling attack conceded respective economy rates of at least 12.6, it becomes very clear that something special unfolded.

Records aplenty were rewritten on a barely believable evening in Chelmsford in July 2019, when Cameron Delport, making his home debut for Essex, pummelled a colossal 129 from just 49 balls.

The South African’s century, which arrived in 38 deliveries, remains the fastest ever by an Essex player in T20 cricket, and his stunning innings was ably backed up by Dan Lawrence, who hit 57 from just 22.

Lawrence’s knock was also a record, with his half-century coming off just 17 balls to represent the fastest Eagles fifty in the format, as the hosts racked up an enormous score.

What made the final score of 226-4 all the more remarkable was that it came in just 15 overs, with the match initially having been delayed due to a passing shower.

Thankfully, play was able to begin after a mopping-up operation with a quarter of the scheduled overs lost, and having won the toss, Surrey captain Jade Dernbach asked Essex to bat first.

It was an understandable decision given the venue and the favourability given to the chasing team in a reduced-overs encounter, but a little over an hour later, it had backfired on Dernbach horribly.

The initial stages gave no clue of what was about to happen, though, with Essex moving to an unremarkable 23-1 after three overs, but it was then that Delport took matters into his own hands.

He cracked 14 off five balls of Sam Curran’s second over, but that was only the warm-up for what followed against his brother Tom, as Delport struck three sixes in a row to take 26 off his next five.

Two more just prior to Tom Westley falling in the sixth over brought up his fifty in just 19 deliveries, and he continued to pepper the crowd with maximums in each of the next four overs.

That included two in three balls off Imran Tahir and three more in four against Gareth Batty, before he brought up his ton in just about the only way he knew how, with his 11th six of the night off Tom Curran.

Amid that carnage, Lawrence was wreaking havoc of his own, lofting Tahir for three more consecutive sixes and taking 24 off the South African spinner’s second over to send Essex flying past 170.

Having added a scarcely-believable 135 for the fourth wicket in just seven overs, a stand that included 19 boundaries, the duo were finally parted when Delport’s fireworks ended in the last over.

That partnership had taken Essex comfortably beyond 200, a landmark which naturally had been brought up by Delport striking Tom Curran for another six.

As he strode off with his bat aloft, the innings’ magnitude was sinking in: Delport’s knock was, and remains, the second-highest individual Essex T20 score, behind only Graham Napier’s legendary 152*.

There was little time remaining for new man Ravi Bopara to have much of an impact, though he and Lawrence put the cherry on top of the innings in the final four balls to cap off an unforgettable display.

The total now sits fifth on the all-time list, but then, it represented the second-highest T20 score by Essex, and the Surrey dressing room was especially sombre at half-time.

If they were to achieve an even more remarkable feat of overhauling the target they had just been set, they would need a fast start, but just to introduce a few nerves, that is exactly what they got.

Will Jacks struck four fours off the first four balls, and followed it up with back-to-back sixes in the second over to put himself on 29 off just seven and give Surrey a start of 31-0 in just 1.2 overs.

However, it was at that point that Essex struck back, as the second half of a remarkable second over, bowled by Matt Quinn, reduced them to 32-3.

Jacks was first to go, skying to Ravi Bopara in the covers the ball after his second successive maximum, before Sam Curran and Ben Foakes were both caught to depart for first-ball ducks.

Adam Zampa then followed up with a wicket maiden to Rikki Clarke, bowling five successive dot balls before the veteran miscued to Tom Westley to also go without troubling the scorers.

Amidst Aaron Finch’s efforts to at least give Surrey some pride, with the Australian hoisting his compatriot Zampa for consecutive boundaries, Tom Curran fell too, caught off Shane Snater for four.

That left the visitors reeling at 57-5, and the Chelmsford crowd hit new decibel levels when Bopara snuck one past a driving Finch to bowl him for 40.

Jordan Clark, now with Rory Burns for company, aimed to take up the mantle and struck Bopara for back-to-back sixes just after the halfway point to push Surrey into three figures.

However, a relatively tight next six overs, which saw just one boundary per over and a total of 60 runs – fast without perspective, but in context of this game, somewhat slow – decisively settled the match.

In all, Burns and Clark added 79 off 43 balls, but the contest was long gone by the time Snater parted them with the second ball of the final over, seeing Westley snaffle Clark for 45.

Victory was formally secured four balls later, with Essex taking a massive net run rate swing and a pair of points that proved vital in their sneaking through to the last eight in fourth place.


As far as Essex fans are aware, there wasn’t anything particularly special about what followed in the knockout stages and at Finals Day…

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from squeaking out the most dramatic of wins over Surrey in the Blast group stage last summer, Essex take on the Brown Caps again at The Cloud County Ground on Sunday 14 July.

With demand running high across the board for this year’s competition, there’s no time to waste to secure the best seats as the Eagles square up to their London rivals.

Click below to buy your Surrey general admission tickets now: