SAM Curran spearheaded Surrey’s charge to the top of their Vitality Blast group with a spectacular all-round display at the Kia Oval.

The 23-year-old’s superb T20 form, which has earned him an England recall for the three-match one-day international series against the Netherlands later this month, has been a major factor in his county heading the South Group after five matches, leading Somerset by a point.

They followed victory over Glamorgan in the opening match by beating Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Kent inside three nights before a washout in the return with the Welshmen on Sunday ended the 100 per cent record.

Curran, still feeling his way back after suffering a stress fracture to the back last year, found form with the ball against Gloucestershire in a match at the Kia Oval delayed by rain and reduced to 16 overs. Surrey were given a storming start by Will Jacks (51) and Jason Roy (28) hammering 60 from the first 27 balls but then collapsed dramatically. Only West Indian Kieron Pollard (14), making his debut, reached double-figures after that; Paul van Meekeren and Tom Smith claiming three wickets apiece, benefitting from the home batsmen trying to find the boundary almost every ball as they were dismissed for 129 with an over unused.

Gloucestershire were immediately in trouble against the left-arm seam pair of Curran (4-14) and Reece Topley (2-6), Ryan Higgins (37) the only batsman to last long as they were bowled out for 92.

Two nights later, Curran utterly dominated a 72-run triumph over Hampshire, again at the Oval, in front of a crowd of 15,000. First, he shared an exotic second wicket stand worth 131 in 12 overs with Will Jacks (64), achieving the rare feat of outscoring the opener by hammering 69 in 38 balls with five fours and five sixes. Once they were separated, Jamie Overton’s crunching 52 from 23 drove Surrey up to 228-4.

Hampshire made a rapid start to their reply but were cut apart by Curran, whose 5-30 led their dismissal for 156 and saw him become just the fourth player in English T20 history to make a half-century and take five wickets.

He described it as “an amazing evening in front of an amazing crowd – and most importantly two points”, then added: “I’m not going to lie, I wanted to get that first five-for because I have played a lot of T20 cricket, so that was nice, but the most important thing was getting another win.”

The importance of Overton’s controlled hitting in the final overs was underlined at Canterbury, as Kent were defeated by 32 runs. Jason Roy (23), Curran (43) and Sunil Narine (25) all made valuable contributions before the big all-rounder’s 27 from 11 lifted Surrey to 159-6 before they limited the champions to 127-9, West Indian spinner Narine’s 1-18 from four overs contributing another miserly spell while Topley claimed 3-24.

And Overton’s role became even more apparent at Cardiff on Sunday, hammering three fours and four sixes in a blistering 48 from 21 deliveries which pushed Surrey to 160-9. Glamorgan were on 9-0 from 1.3 overs when rain terminated the match, each side taking a point.

With Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes already engaged in the England Test side, the call-up of Curran, Topley and Roy for the Netherlands series will inevitably test the depth of Surrey’s squad.

Vitality Blast T20 fixtures (all home matches at the Kia Oval) – Thurs 9: Middlesex (Lord’s); Fri 17: Middlesex; Sun 19: Hampshire (Ageas Bowl); Tues 21: Somerset; Thurs 23: Sussex (Hove); Fri 24: Essex (Chelmsford); Fri July 1: Kent; Sun 3: Somerset (Taunton).

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