Aaron Finch made an instant impact as he bids to revive Surrey's fortunes in the Vitality Blast.

Finch, Ben Foakes and Rikki Clarke led a Surrey run-glut at a packed Oval as the home side saw off Essex by 39 runs to record their first Vitality Blast South Group win at the third attempt.

Finch smashed 58 off 33 deliveries, Foakes hammered 56 and Clarke smacked a 20-ball 48 to lift Surrey to 222 for four, just two runs short of their record Twenty20 total, made against Gloucestershire at Bristol 12 years ago.

Only Varun Chopra with 67 off 46 balls threatened for long as Essex were held to 183 for seven in reply.

Defeats by Middlesex and Kent made it a disappointing start for Jade Dernbach’s side but lacking so many key batsmen meant a sluggish opening to the T20 competition was always possible.

Although Jason Roy remains on England duty, the return of Finch – plus his Australian compatriot Nic Maddinson – should give Surrey a great deal more firepower for their two matches in as many nights, against Essex followed by Sussex at Hove today.

Finch, captain of Australia in the game’s shortest format, broke his own record for the highest T20 score when he smashed 172 against Zimbabwe in Harare last week – surpassing the 156 for which he took England’s bowlers five years ago – which restored his world number one ranking.

Surrey’s batting understandably looked short of firepower, fighting hard in the South Group opener against Middlesex at Lord’s last Thursday.

Rikki Clarke’s 50 was the best of their 158-6 after electing to bat, Irishman Paul Stirling following his three cheap wickets by hammering 66 in 36 balls. His departure in the 10th over, at 89-2, started a slide of four wickets for one run in seven balls but Aussie Hilton Cartwright (38) and James Fuller (18no) saw the hosts to victory with an over to spare.

Joe Denly became the first player to score a century and take a hat-trick in any form of limited overs match as Kent squeezed home by six runs at The Oval on Friday.

Yet Surrey were bitterly disappointed to lose a match they appeared to be coasting. Denly’s 102 from 63 balls, which included 12 fours and two sixes, ensured Kent reached 173-6. It might have been more but for Mat Pillans claiming 3-22 in four overs in an excellent display of seam bowling in the final stages.

But Surrey were coasting when they finished the powerplay – the first six overs – at 71-1 and looked certain victors while Rory Burns (39) and Ben Foakes were adding 85 for the second wicket in less than eight overs. Leg-spinner Denly transformed the match with his treble strike in the 13th over, having Rikki Clarke (11) stumped, trapping youngster Jamie Smith and Pillans top-edging an easy catch for wicketkeeper Sam Billings.

Foakes could only watch in horror as the rest folded to be left 75no as his team folded with seven balls unused.

Club captain Burns’s prolific form, which sees him as leading scorer in Specsavers County Championship Division One, has finally been recognised by the national selectors.

The left-hander, whose 722 runs at 65 include two centuries, is among the England Lions squad who will take on Pakistan A over four days at Worcester from Monday.

Joining him in the side are Ollie Pope, the 20-year-old’s magnificent campaign bringing him 654 runs at 93, and all-rounder Sam Curran, who made his Test debut last month.

Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart has been pressing the claims of Burns – having passed 1,000 first-class runs for the past four seasons – for some time and added: “It’s been a long time coming for him to be recognised at a higher level.

“The challenge now for all three is to step up to the full England squad and cement a regular place in the team.”

Surrey’s break from the T20 sees them taking on West Indies A in a first-class tour match at The Oval over three days from Monday.