Middlesex ended their Friends Life t20 campaign with a three wicket defeat by Kent Spitfires at Uxbridge.
After the Uxbridge ground staff worked wonders to get the ground ready for a prompt start following heavy overnight rain, Neil Dexter lost yet another toss and Robert Key invited Middlesex to bat first. Middlesex made one change from the side that defeated Surrey at the Kia Oval on Friday night with Tom Scollay replacing Gareth Berg.
Neil Dexter and Paul Stirling put on 27 for the first wicket before Stirling was out in the fifth over when he got underneath a Davies’ delivery and was caught at mid-on by Simon Cook for twelve. Steven Crook came in as a pinch-hitter and he pulled Davies for a six over backward square-leg and hit Simon Cook for a straight six before he was caught at mid-on for 18 (off 12 balls) to give Cook his revenge and leave Middlesex on 53-2 after eight overs.
Dawid Malan joined Dexter who scored three fours in a partnership of 21 before Malan was caught on the square-leg boundary by Adam Ball off Darren Stevens’ bowling for four. Neil Dexter departed in Stevens’ following over for 42 (off 38 balls) when he drove straight to Robert Key at extra-cover to reduce the Panthers to 80-3 in the 13th over.
Tom Scollay hit Riley for a straight six in the 14th over but Adam Rossington (8) fell to a stunning diving catch by Sam Billings on the mid-wicket boundary in the next over, bowled by Darren Stevens. The hundred came up in the 16th over and Scollay and John Simpson took the total to 110-5 before Simpson was caught by Key at backward point for five, off Azhar Mahmood.
The innings disintegrated afterwards with Ollie Rayner being caught at extra-cover for two off Adam Ball and Scollay being caught at the wicket off Azhar Mahmood for 19. Tim Murtagh (1) was bowled by Ball off the first ball of the final over before Ollie Wilkin and Tom Smith added a further six runs as the Middlesex innings closed on 124-9. Darren Stevens had figures of 3-23 from 4 overs, Azhar Mahmood 2-22 from 4 overs, Adam Ball 2-18 from 3 overs, Matt Davies 1-24 from 4 overs and Simon Cook 1-25 from 4 overs.
The two Sam’s, Northeast and Billings scored twelve off the first ten balls of the innings before Billings (10) drove a Steve Crook delivery straight to Ollie Wilkin at extra-cover. Nine runs came off Tim Murtagh’s opening over and seven runs off Crook’s second over before Murtagh had Robert Key caught at deep mid-wicket by Ollie Wilkin for three. Darren Stevens joined Northeast and the pair took Kent to 34-2 after the six power-play overs.
Only four singles came from Tom Smith’s first over but Stevens hit Ollie Wilkin for a six before Northeast (21) was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Adam Rossington off the last ball of Wilkin’s only over. Only four singles came from Tom Smith’s second over but Stevens hit the first two balls of Neil Dexter’s first over for sixes before he holed out to Dawid Malan at long-off for 26, off the fifth ball of the over, to leave Kent on 65-4 at the half-way point of the innings.
Tom Smith had conceded just twelve runs off his first three overs but with both Azhar Mahmood and Blake hitting sixes in Smith’s final over, a total of twenty runs came from the over. Blake hit a further six in Ollie Rayner’s final over, Rayner finishing with figures of 0-18 from four overs. Only 17 runs were needed from the final four overs and after seven runs came off the first three balls of the 17th over, Blake (22) fell to a fine running catch by Tim Murtagh at mid-on to give Neil Dexter a wicket.
Three runs came off Tim Murtagh’s third over to leave Kent needing just five runs from two overs. Azhar Mahmood was run out for thirty when Steven Crook fielded a push from Geraint Jones and brilliantly threw down the stumps at the keepers’ end. Adam Ball hit a four off the first ball he faced to level the scores before he was bowled by Crook, third ball. Simon Cook stroked the last ball of the penultimate over through the covers to for a single to give Kent victory by three wickets with an over to spare.
Steven Crook had figures of 2-21 from 4 overs, Neil Dexter 2-26 from 3 overs, Tim Murtagh 1-13 from 3 overs and Ollie Wilkin 1-8 from one over.
Middlesex have named an unchanged 13-man squad for their final Friends Life t20 match of the season, which will take place on Sunday 8 July against Kent Spitfires at Uxbridge CC:
Neil Dexter (captain) Gareth Berg Steven Crook Joe Denly Dawid Malan Tim Murtagh Ollie Rayner Toby Roland-Jones Adam Rossington John Simpson Tom Smith Paul Stirling Ollie Wilkin
Tickets are still available to buy on the gate on the day, priced at £15 for adults, £8 for over 65s and just £5 for under 16s, so head on down and cheer on the Panthers!
Gates open at 1pm, with the match starting at 2.40pm.