Middlesex guaranteed themselves a second season in the top division of the LV= County Championship with a five wicket win over Worcestershire at Worcester.
After bowling out the hosts for 186, Middlesex were left to score 204 runs to win in 47 overs but after reaching only 37 for the loss of Chris Rogers’ wicket from seventeen overs it looked as though they had decided to settle for a draw. However, after thirty runs came off the next three overs, the chase was back on and consistent batting with everyone contributing saw Middlesex to a thrilling five wicket win with eleven balls to spare.
In the morning, Worcestershire resumed their second innings on 44-3 and Middlesex opened the attack with Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Crook. Pardoe and night-watchman Chris Russell added a further nineteen runs for the fourth wicket although Russell survived a sharp chance to Joe Denly in the gully, off Crook’s bowling. The first wicket to fall was that of Matt Pardoe who was LBW to Roland-Jones for 28.
Alexi Kervezee joined Russell and Middlesex missed another opportunity when Sam Robson was unable to hold onto a chance from Russell in the gully, Steven Crook again being the unlucky bowler. The score reached 84-4 before Ravi Patel replaced Crook at the Diglis End and in his second over, he got through the defence of Russell and bowled him for 22 (off 54 balls).
New batsman, Neil Pinner managed only two before he was bowled by Toby Roland-Jones and when Roland-Jones had Leach caught at third slip by Joe Denly for four to reduce Worcestershire to 106-6, Middlesex had visions of a small run-chase. However, Kervezee and Ben Cox survived the remaining nine overs to reach 125-7 at lunch with Kervezee 35 not out; Toby Roland-Jones bowled magnificently in the morning, taking 3-28 in thirteen successive overs at the New Road End.
Cox and Kervezee added a further eighteen runs in six overs after lunch before Steven Crook, who had returned at the Diglis End, trapped Cox LBW for twelve. Gareth Andrew, using his Mongoose bat in this innings, joined Kervezee who reached his second fifty of the match in the following over (off 91 balls, 3 fours). The pair added 43 runs for the ninth wicket with Andrew hitting Ravi Patel for a straight six and a four off Crook before Andrew was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Gareth Berg having made 26 off 29 balls.
Last man, Alan Richardson lasted only two balls before he was brilliantly run out by the bowler, Steven Crook, who followed-up when Richardson pushed a ball onto the leg-side and Crook threw down the stumps at the bowlers’ end. Worcestershire were 186 all-out to leave Middlesex needing 204 runs to win. Toby Roland-Jones had figures of 5-46 from 20 overs to give him match figures of 10-118 with Steven Crook taking 2-47 from 14.4 overs.
Chasing 204 runs to win in 47 overs, the Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Chris Rogers were given a searching examination by the hosts’ opening attack of Alan Richardson and Chris Russell. Rogers survived a confident caught & bowled appeal from Richardson when on nine but umpire Neil Bainton ruled that the ball had not touched Rogers’ bat. However, immediately after Rogers had scored a single to reach 1,000 LV= Championship runs in the season, Richardson had him LBW for fifteen. Joe Denly joined Robson and the pair took Middlesex to 27-1 at tea after twelve overs.
After tea, Middlesex managed only ten runs from the first five overs and it looked as though they had decided to settle for a draw. However, ten runs came off the next over from Russell (which included four leg-byes) and Sam Robson hit successive fours off Richardson. Gareth Andrew then came on to replace Russell at the Diglis End and Joe Denly hooked his first ball into the car-park for six over backward square-leg and he followed-up by taking a further five runs off the over.
Alan Richardson was a constant threat and Robson survived a chance to Phil Hughes at second slip before Joe Denly survived a chance to Kervezzee at mid-off who dropped a skier, Richardson again being the unlucky bowler. The score advanced to 98-1 in the 29th over before Sam Robson was caught by Moeen Ali at second slip off Andrew for 35.
With 106 runs needed off 18.1 overs, Steven Crook was sent in as a ‘pinch-hitter’ but before he had a chance to get going, Joe Denly was out when he got a top-edge to a Moeen Ali delivery and wicket-keeper Ben Cox took the catch to dismiss Denly for 48. Dawid Malan joined Crook and with ten runs coming off the following over from Andrew, Middlesex were 117-3 when the last hour of sixteen overs began.
Ten runs came off the first over from Moeen Ali although Crook survived a difficult chance off an inside-edge to the keeper. Steven Crook was thwarted when a straight drive hit umpire Willey on the arm and only a single was scored instead of a likely four. With good running between the wickets, Crook and Malan took Middlesex to 152-3 in the 38th over before Hughes took a well-judged catch at deep mid-off to dismiss Malan for 22 (off 25 balls) to give Moeen Ali a second wicket.
Gareth Berg joined Crook and Alan Richardson was recalled to the attack with Middlesex needing 52 runs from the remaining nine overs. Nine runs came off Richardson’s over which included an uncharacteristic no-ball and ten runs came off the next over from Moeen Ali which included a six over long-on by Berg. Richardson conceded only a single in his next over before Russell replaced Ali at the Diglis End and he took a wicket with his first delivery when Crook pulled him to Kervezee at deep square-leg who took the catch to dismiss Crook for 30 (off 37 balls).
Neil Dexter joined Berg but only a single came off the remaining five balls of Russell’s over to leave Middlesex needing 31 runs off five overs. Seven runs came off the next over from Richardson with a further seven runs coming off the following over from Russell. Berg magnificently pulled the first ball of the 45th over for a six over mid-wicket and after a further three runs in the over, Neil Dexter magnificently cut the last ball of Richardson’s over for a six over cover.
Needing just two runs to win from two overs, after Gareth Berg took a single off the first ball of Russell’s over, the next ball from Russell was a bouncer which in poor light, was called by umpire Willey as a no-ball and Middlesex won the match by five wickets with eleven balls to spare. Gareth Berg was 26 not out (off 21 balls, 2 sixes & 1 four) with Neil Dexter 15 not out (off 14 balls, 1 six & 1 four). One had to feel sorry for former Middlesex favourite, Alan Richardson who bowled his heart out to finish with figures of 1-64 from 18 overs.
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Middlesex CCC are pleased to announce the following 13-man squad to play in the LV= County Championship match against Worcestershire CCC at New Road, starting tomorrow Tuesday 28 August:
Chris Rogers (captain)
Andrew Strauss has not been named in the squad as the ECB has requested that he continue to rest.
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