Middlesex ended their season with a dramatic 109 run win over Lancashire at Lord’s; the win, which also countersigned the visitors to relegation, moved Middlesex up to second place in the LV= County Championship.
Set to get 304 runs to win at an asking rate of 7.8 runs per over, Lancashire, needing a win to keep their hopes alive went for the runs and it was only when the last pair were at the wicket and the news of Surrey’s win had filtered through that they decided to shut-up shop. However, Ravi Patel found the edge of Simon Kerrigan’s bat and Gareth Berg took the catch, low down at second slip, to give Middlesex victory with seven overs to spare.
In the morning, Middlesex resumed their second innings on 129-2 and Rogers and Malan saw off the opening burst from Chapple and Hogg and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan came on at the Nursery End after 45 minutes. Malan reached his fifty in Kerrigan’s first over (off 96 balls, 4 fours) but in the bowlers’ next over Chris Rogers was caught at the wicket for 86 to reduce Middlesex to 178-3.
With Kerrigan getting appreciable turn, Malan and Dexter were unable to force the pace and the pair added only 29 runs in 10.4 overs before Neil Dexter (9) edged a Tom Smith delivery to Croft at second slip. John Simpson joined Malan and the pair saw Middlesex to 224-4 at lunch with 65 overs of the final day remaining.
After lunch, the Lancashire spinners’ Kerrigan and Croft bowled in tandem and they tied down the Middlesex batsmen who only managed to score 27 runs in fourteen overs before Lancashire took the new ball with the total on 251-4. The scoring rate improved with 13 runs coming off the first two overs with the new ball but in Chapple’s second over with the new ball, Malan’s fine effort ended when he was caught at the wicket for 95.
John Simpson was then bowled by Ajmal Shahzad for 27 in the following over but Steven Crook came in and took ten runs off the remaining five balls of the over. However, Crook added only a further two runs to his score before he was caught by Horton at first slip, at the second attempt, off Chapple. Toby Roland-Jones joined Berg and the pair took Middlesex to 289-7 before Berg was LBW to Chapple for five at which point the players left the field thinking that Middlesex had declared.
It turned out that Middlesex twelfth-man Tom Smith had been signalling to ask if Roland-Jones wanted a drink and that Middlesex had not in fact declared! After a three minute delay, play resumed and new batsman, Ravi Patel was bowled first ball by Chapple. Corey Collymore survived the ‘hat-trick’ ball and played out the remainder of the over. Twelve runs came off the next over, bowled by Hogg, which included a six by Roland-Jones over mid-wicket.
Collymore scored a four in Chapple’s next over and after Roland-Jones played out a maiden over from Kerrigan, the real Middlesex declaration came on 305-9. Toby Roland-Jones was 18 not out with Corey Collymore 4 not out; Glen Chapple had figures of 5-47 from 19 overs (10-133 in the match).
Ashwell Prince opened the batting with Tom Smith as the visitors went about their run chase and they had thirty runs on the board in the 7th over before Prince (20) chipped a Corey Collymore delivery to mid-on where Ravi Patel took the catch. Twelve runs came off Roland-Jones’ fourth over and the score reached 50-1 after nine overs at which point Ravi Patel’s left-arm spin was introduced to the attack.
Patel struck with his first delivery when Tom Smith was deceived and John Simpson made the stumping to dismiss Smith for 21. Karl Brown joined Croft and the pair went on the attack, taking Lancashireto 107-2 after sixteen overs. At this point, Steven Crook whose second over had cost fifteen runs staged a smash and grab raid by taking three wickets in his third over. Karl Brown was bowled for 33 off the first ball of the over and after five runs came off the next three balls, Croft was bowled by Crook for 30 and Gareth Cross was LBW for a first ball duck as Lancashire slipped to 112-5.
Crook struck again in his next over when he bowled Paul Horton for six and when Ravi Patel bowled Kyle Hogg (2) around his legs, Lancashire were 134-7. Glen Chapple had scored nineteen runs off 14 balls before he was bowled by Crook and when the final hour of sixteen overs began, Lancashire needed a further 158 runs.
However, the visitors decided to go down with all guns blazing as Shahzad hit three fours in Ravi Patel’s ninth over and Procter taking nine runs off the following over, bowled by Gareth Berg. The first ball of Patel’s next over was hit for four but Procter was LBW off the next ball for 26 to leave Lancashire on 178-9.
Steven Crook replaced Berg at the Pavilion End but Shahzad took ten runs off the over before Ravi Patel wrapped things up by having Kerrigan caught by Gareth Berg at second slip for a duck. Shahzad was 26 not out as Lancashire were bowled out for 194 in just 32 overs. Steven Crook had career best figures of 5-48 with Ravi Patel taking 4-72 in twelve overs.
CLICK HERE to read the match reports from Days 1, 2 & 3 (then click MORE INFO & MATCH REPORT next to the fixture).
Last week's win over Worcestershire, and the fact it guaranteed LV=CC Division One cricket for us in 2013, means that we have a relatively stressless week ahead of us here at Lord's for the fixture against Lancashire.
However, I have stressed to the team that this is a game we want to win. If I cannot see Middlesex at the top of league tables I want to see our name second or third, positions that are in our reach. For the players there is still plenty to play for, especially a nice bit of prize money should we reach either of these positions.
In the dead CB40 game against Essex last week we were excellent and I expect the same level of commitment this week. There are only four days of the season to go for us so there is no need to save energy for something further down the line.
We also need to put up a strong show for the integrity of the tournament. If we were in the position of either Worcestershire, Lancashire or Surrey we would expect our opponents to field and play a tough game of cricket. This we intend to do.
Middlesex have made a couple of changes to the squad that travelled to Worcester. John Simpson scored a hundred and 70+ last week in the 2nd XI and he comes back to replace Adam Rossington. Adam has performed well in the three matches he has played and I am sure he will have learned a lot from the experience. He kept tidily and batted well against quality spin against Surrey at The Oval and against testing pace and bounce against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Tim Murtagh is being rested. It was agreed that Tim's preparations for the T20 World Cup would take preference over this match if Middlesex were safe from relegation and could not win the title. The break will give Tim the best chance of performing well for Ireland in Sri Lanka.
Ollie Rayner comes back into the squad after recovering from a broken finger sustained in the LV=CC game against Sussex. Gurjit Sandhu comes in as cover for the faster bowlers.
Middlesex CCC are pleased to announce the following 13-man squad to play against Lancashire in their final LV= County Championship match of the season, starting tomorrow, Tuesday 4 September at Lord's:
Chris Rogers (captain)
Gates open at 9.30am and the match is due to start at 10.30am.
Tickets can be bought on the gate and cost £16 for adults, £8 for over 65s and £5 for under 16s.
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