JASON Roy hit top form to give Surrey a three-point cushion at the top of the Vitality Blast South Group.

The England white ball opener’s 81 from just 45 balls led the way to a 20-run victory over Middlesex at Lord’s, his county’s sixth victory in seven T20 matches with one match rained off.

It was ideal timing for Roy, who had made a slow return from a three-month break from cricket but was keen to find his touch before joining up with the England side which will play three one-day internationals against the Netherlands – starting from Friday – alongside Surrey colleagues Reece Topley and Sam Curran.

Given the involvement of Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes in England’s Test series against New Zealand, that will severely test the depth of Surrey’s squad and may make them grateful for such a successful start to the T20 programme. Friday’s return clash with Middlesex at the Kia Oval launches a run of five matches in eight days.

Having lost their 100 per cent record in the abandoned match against Glamorgan at Cardiff, Chris Jordan’s men were grateful for a sunny night when Sussex visited the Kia Oval. The visitors slid to 40-3 before Tom Alsop (38), Fynn Hudson-Prentice (49no) and Harrison Ward (31) fought back. Alsop’s dismissal to an acrobatic catch by Topley rewarded West Indian spinner Sunil Narine for another miserly spell and followed an astonishing effort on the boundary by Will Jacks which had sent back Ravi Bopara (6).

Sussex’s hopes of a late charge were cut off by Jordan, who moved back to The Oval from Hove during the winter, delivering a double wicket-maiden in the 18th over which restricted the visitors to 146-7.

Jacks (57) and Roy (50) set off by crashing 110 from the first 12.3 overs, which effectively settled the match, taking heavy toll of England speedster Tymal Mills along the way, and although Obed McCoy struck twice, Kieron Pollard’s 23no included two lusty sixes to assure a seven-wicket victory with 3.3 overs in hand.

Roy utterly dominated the early stages of the trip to Lord’s 24 hours later, depositing all three of his sixes into the Grandstand and achieving the rare feat of outshining Jacks. He gained spirited support from Laurie Evans (22) and Narine (25) before a typically hard-hit 27 from 12 balls by Jamie Overton steered the visitors to 208-7.

The all-rounder needed a let-off from the TV umpire before he got off the mark when an acrobatic return catch by Martin Andersson appeared to have sent him back, the replay suggesting the ball may have touched the ground as the bowler rolled over.

Middlesex were given a lightning start of their own by Steve Eskinazi (47) and Max Holden (33) crashing 76 from the six-over powerplay before order was restored by Jordan (4-31) and Narine (2-28), only Chris Green’s 46no keeping alive the home side’s faint hopes as the hosts reached 188-8 at the end.

Overton explained the main reason behind Surrey’s T20 success so far: “We all know our roles, which is the difference between us and other sides. There’s a clarity when we go out to the middle.”

And on Roy’s Lord’s assault he added: “Jason got us off to a rollicking start. He’s played himself into some form before going off to the Netherlands but everyone contributes. It’s not just one person every game.”

Surrey returned briefly to four-day action in LV County Championship, going into this week’s clash with Somerset at Taunton with a three-point lead and dismissing the west country side for 180.

Vitality Blast T20 fixtures (all home matches at the Kia Oval) – 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).

Tickets available at kiaoval.com