After the Clydesdale Bank 40 League washout against Leicestershire at Uxbridge, Middlesex suffered again at Old Trafford where they were beaten by seven wickets by Lancashire under Duckworth/Lewis regulations.
Unfortunately, with rain threatening, Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter lost yet another toss and the Panthers, not surprisingly, were put in to bat. Middlesex were further hampered by the late arrival of Eoin Morgan following travel difficulties and Ollie Rayner had to replace him.
The players took to the field for the scheduled 4.40pm start, but after ‘play’ was called by the umpire, a shower of rain drove the players from the ground. After a delay of eighty minutes, play commenced again with the match reduced to 32 overs per side. Joe Denly played out a maiden over from Glen Chapple and after four runs came from Tom Smith’s first over only three balls were bowled in Chapple’s second over before further rain arrived.
Following a break of 128 minutes, the match was further reduced to just sixteen overs a side with Middlesex having only a further 3.5 power-play overs to face. Dawid Malan hit the first ball after the resumption for four and he struck a further four in the following over from Ajmal Shahzad. Malan hit Chapple for a six in the fifth over of the innings but with only four singles coming in Tom Smith’s second over, Middlesex were 31-0 after the six power-play overs.
Stephen Parry came on to bowl his left-arm spin at the Statham end and with his fifth delivery, had Joe Denly stumped for seven (off 20 balls). Seven runs came off the next over, bowled by Gary Keedy and after four singles came off Parry’s following over, Paul Stirling was given out caught at the wicket for six, off the final ball of the 9th over to leave Middlesex on 45-2.
Steven Crook was promoted up the order to give impetus to the innings but after five singles came off Keedy’s second over it was Malan who put his foot on the accelerator. Malan hit the first two balls of Shahzad’s second over for a six and a four and he also hit the fifth ball for a four before he was caught by Prince on the long-on boundary for 48 (off 36 balls, 2 sixes & 4 fours).
Ollie Rayner was moved up the order but he lost Crook who was caught by Brown at deep extra-cover off Keedy’s bowling for four. Neil Dexter scored eight off seven balls faced before he was caught by Horton at mid-wicket off Tom Smith’s bowling. Gareth Berg joined Rayner at the wicket and with four runs coming off the remainder of Smith’s over, Middlesex were 85-5 with two overs remaining.
Six runs came off the penultimate over from Shahzad and after three runs came off the first two balls of the final over, Rayner was bowled for fourteen, having a heave against Parry. After new batsman John Simpson scored a two off the first ball he faced, he holed out to Shahzad at long-on.
Gareth Berg scored one off the last ball of the innings before he attempted a suicidal second run and was beaten by Horton’s throw to the keeper. Berg was out for four with Chris Rogers, who did not face a ball, not out nought in a Middlesex total of 97-8. Steven Parry had figures of 4-21 from four overs.
When Lancashire began their reply, they were left to chase a target of 103 from sixteen overs under Duckworth/Lewis regulations.Lancashire suffered a setback in the opening over when Stephen Moore was caught by substitute fielder Ollie Wilkin at mid-on from the fifth ball of Toby Roland-Jones’ over. Croft and Smith took the score to 16-1 before Steve Crook had Smith well caught by Gareth Berg at mid-on for eleven.
Karl Brown joined Croft but the Lancashire reply had only reached 29-2 after the six power-play overs. Seven runs came off the next over, bowled by Berg but twelve runs came from Tom Smith’s first over with Brown hitting successive balls for a six and a four. Paul Stirling came onto bowl the ninth over but he bowled only one ball before a shower of rain drove the players from the field.
Seven minutes and one over was lost and Lancashire, who were on 48-2 at the time, were left to chase a revised D/L target of 97 in fifteen overs. Dawid Malan missed an opportunity off the second ball after the resumption when, fielding on the mid-wicket boundary, he lost sight of the lofted ball in the floodlights and the ball went for four. With Brown hitting the last ball of Stirling’s over for a four, nine runs came from the over.
Neil Dexter came on at the Pavilion end to replace Tom Smith and five runs came from the over to leave Lancashire on 62-2 with five overs remaining. Gareth Berg returned at the Statham end but after no runs came off the first two balls of the over, Croft hit the next two balls for a six and a four. Six runs came off Dexter’s second over to leave Lancashire needing just seventeen runs off three overs.
Dawid Malan was brought on to bowl his leg-breaks but Croft took eight runs off the first three balls and with three runs coming in the remainder of the over, Lancashire were 91-2. Croft hit the first ball of Neil Dexter’s third over for a four but off the next delivery he was caught by Paul Stirling at third man for 45 (off 35 balls). Horton joined Brown at the wicket but the next two deliveries were leg-side wides and Lancashire won the match by seven wickets with ten balls to spare, Karl Brown was 36 not out (off 32 balls).
Middlesex were handicapped by having to bowl with a wet ball and having to field in the slippery conditions. Steven Crook had figures of 1-9 from three overs, Toby Roland-Jones 1-13 from two overs with Neil Dexter taking 1-17 from 2.2 overs.
Following on from yesterday's Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Leicestershire which was abandoned without a ball being bowled, the Panthers are off up to Old Trafford for today's floodlit match against Lancashire Lightning.
Middlesex are pleased to announce the following 13-man squad to play against Lancashire at Old Trafford today, Monday 16 July, starting at 4.40pm which is due to shown live on Sky Sports:
Neil Dexter (c)
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