Surrey ruled out London rivals Middlesex in their T20 Blast South Group opener at Lord’s despite fly-half Jason Roy missing through injury.
Sam Curran (68) and his brother Tom put in 118 for the third wicket as the visitors went 199-6, with three late wickets from Tom Helm limiting the scoreline.
Middlesex initially maintained the required pace but steadily lost wickets and then slipped to 98-6.
Spinner Will Jacks picked up 3-17 as Surrey won by 73 runs in 16 overs.
Sam Curran, returning from the Indian Premier League to captain Surrey, won the toss and decided to strike as they sought a seventh straight T20 Blast victory over Middlesex.
They were forced into a last minute change as just hours after the news Roy would end his contract with England to play in July’s inaugural season of Major League Cricket in the United States, the 32-year-old batsman suffered a calf injury during the warm-up.
Surrey started well before West Indies all-rounder Sunil Narine, promoted at the opener, fell on second ball from debuting spinner Nathan Fernandes. But it was the jacks who did the damage early on, with his 22 innings of 43 balls helping the visitors to 68-2 in the round of 16.
His dismissal reunited the Curran brothers in the middle, and the two recorded half centuries as they piled on the runs in the middle.
Tom Curran, playing only as a hitter, left shortly after turning 50, taking advantage of a Ryan Higgins delivery at the 19th.
Surrey looked headed for a tally beyond 200, particularly when Middlesex were forced to move an extra defensive player inside the circle for the final for a slow passing.
However, Helm took three wickets – including Sam Curran – to stop their charge and keep the hosts’ target at 200.
Middlesex have only come out of the group stage twice since winning the tournament in 2008 and losing captain Stephen Eskinazi to a run out in the first leg of their response.
Gus Atkinson missed the chance to catch the batter but recovered brilliantly to play his part by sending Eskinazi back to the clubhouse as Jamie Overton, also playing as a batter only, completed a stunt.
Pieter Malan gave Middlesex hope but was out for 30 minutes driving straight into Overton at half wicket and Jacks rotation and Narine then got three wickets in the space of five balls as Middlesex went from 93-3 to 98-6.
The last of them was Max Holden, clear for 43 attempts to sweep Narine, and his departure hastened an inevitable defeat.
Surrey, with a deep team and threats with bat and ball, look set to at least match their quarter-final appearance last season and potentially add to the first T20 Cup they won in 2003.
Both teams are back in action on Friday, with Surrey hosting the Kent Spitfires (6.30pm BST) and Middlesex traveling to the Hampshire Hawks (7.00pm BST).