Essex excelled as they picked up just their second victory in the Vitality Blast last night against a high-flying Surrey at the Kia Oval.

In a game reduced to 17 overs per side by rain, Essex bowled superbly in helpful conditions to dismiss Surrey for 118 in 16.4 overs after winning the toss.

Openers Will Buttleman and Adam Wheater then broke the back of the chase with a stand of 67 and Buttleman saw his side home with an unbeaten half-century as Essex completed an eight-wicket win with nine balls to spare.

In mitigation Surrey were without several key players, including Sam and Tom Curran and Jason Roy, who have joined up with England for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka this week, while Laurie Evans withdrew with illness.

But it was still an impressive performance by the 2019 winners, who picked up their second victory of the campaign to move above Hampshire and Somerset into sixth.

Surrey struggled to build a competitive score after losing three key batsmen in the first three overs on a pitch which offered turn from the start.

Hashim Amla drove the first ball from slow left-armer Aron Nijjar to extra cover, Will Jacks (three) holed out to deep mid-wicket and Jamie Smith (20) was foxed by a superb delivery from Sam Cook which angled in off the seam to hit middle stump.

Rory Burns, in his first Blast appearance of the season, made just three before mis-timing a pull to leave Surrey 39 for four at the end of the powerplay, but 19-year-old Ben Geddes shaped up well on his debut, leading a recovery of sorts with Jordan Clark as they added 38 for the fifth wicket.

Geddes made 28, Clark top-scored with 30 before holing out to long off and Rikki Clarke hit 20, but Surrey lost their last six wickets in six overs, with the excellent Cook picking up two more to finish with four for 15.

Having assessed conditions and with the outfield quickening up, Essex knew they need not take any risks, but Buttleman and Wheater still played positively.

Wheater made 30 before he was superbly caught low down in the covers by Clarke and Dan Lawrence (11) was bowled trying to a whip a straight delivery from Clark through the leg side.

But Buttleman eased to an impressive maiden Blast half-century, finishing on 56 from 51 balls with seven fours and a six.