Veteran all-rounder Azhar Mahmood held his nerve to help Surrey clinch a tense three-run win over Sussex in a low-scoring Friends Life t20 thriller in front of a 12,000 crowd at the Kia Oval.

With Sharks requiring 12 for victory from the final over, Mahmood, playing in his 181st t20 match, restricted the visitors to eight to secure Surrey's third successive South Group win.

Sharks have now lost two nailbiters to their neighbours and could do with a win when Hampshire visit Hove on Friday.

Chasing 140, Sussex required four to win from the final ball but Ben Brown was unable to make contact with an intended leg glance off Mahmood.

Sussex recovered from 11-3 with Dwayne Smith taking 22 off one Zander de Bruyn over, including a brace of sixes and two fours.

When Scott Styris clipped a Mahmood full toss for six, the asking rate dropped to 14 from 12 balls.

Then, with eight balls remaining, Jade Dernbach yorked Styris for a valiant 46 from 33 balls to tilt the balance Surrey's way.

The hosts might reflect that Gary Wilson’s unbeaten 44 from 37 deliveries was the matchwinning knock.

He hit the final ball of the innings for six off Chris Liddle.