ESSEX Eagles return to white ball action as they begin their T20 Blast campaign against Surrey on Friday (July 7).

Having lost at the semi-final stage in the Royal London One-Day Cup just three weeks ago, Essex will be determined to bounce back and continue their outstanding run so far this season.

Chris Silverwood’s men have already played Surrey twice this season, winning one and drawing one.

Surrey - who lost the One-Day Cup final last weekend - boast the country’s most in-form batsman in Kumar Sangakkara, with Mark Stoneman coming into the match off the back of 144 not out at Lord’s.

However, Essex are the country’s in-form team.

They remain unbeaten in the County Championship, sitting top of Division One with six matches of the season remaining.

Simon Harmer finished with an incredible nine wickets in the day-night match with Middlesex, who were eventually all out for 262 - losing by an innings and 34 runs.

Nick Compton had earlier dug in and looked to have saved the day for the visitors, going in at the end of the final day’s second session on 104 not out and Middlesex 211 for four.

The one-time England opener had gone to the crease mid-evening on Wednesday with Middlesex requiring 296 just to make Essex bat again.

He was joined in a fourth-wicket stand of 153 in 55 overs by Paul Stirling, before the former finally departed.

Earlier it had looked as though Harmer was going to run through Middlesex on his own in double-quick time.

He took three for 15 from his first 26 deliveries of the day before Compton and Stirling settled into their stride.

Stirling went to his 50 from 137 balls with a six off Lawrence over long-leg, but he perished in the next over, caught at leg slip by Ravi Bopara to give Harmer wicket number four.

Harmer then claimed his fifth wicket when John Simpson edged the ball to Cook at slip.

Essex claimed the wicket of Compton when he was caught lbw by Harmer for 120. Ryan Higgins edged another Harmer delivery to Cook and Ollie Rayner was caught lbw by Harmer.

Lawrence trapped Tobias Roland-Jones lbw and then Finn was also out lbw, again to Harmer, to complete an amazing victory.

They now have a four week break before they return to County Championship action against Yorkshire on Sunday, August 6.

*To see how Essex got on in their T20 match against Surrey, visit the Thurrock Gazette website on Friday evening.