Middlesex Panthers won their third successive Yorkshire Bank 40 match when they won a thrilling match against Somerset on a glorious evening under the Lord’s floodlights. After a brilliant hundred from James Hildreth had enabled the visitors to reach 247-7, Dawid Malan played a superb innings for the Panthers before falling one run short of what would have been a deserved hundred. Skipper Neil Dexter then steered Middlesex home together with Sky ‘man-of-the-match’, Ollie Rayner.
Middlesex fielded the same team that had defeated Leicestershire at Grace Road on Sunday and after Neil Dexter had won the toss, they sent Somerset into bat first. After only a single came off the first two overs of the innings from Toby Roland-Jones and James Harris, the Somerset openers Marcus Trescothick and Peter Trego then pushed on with a flurry of boundaries. Trescothick hit both Harris and Roland-Jones for sixes before Peter Trego hit Tim Murtagh for a six in an over that cost seventeen runs.
Somerset had reached 67-0 after just eight overs and they opted to take their batting power-play straight away. Ollie Rayner then came on to bowl his off-spin at the Pavilion End and after conceding six runs off the first five balls of his over, he bowled Trescothick for 41 (off 33 balls, 2 sixes & 4 fours). Former Middlesex player, Nick Compton joined Trego and the pair added a further 12 runs before James Harris, who had returned to the attack at the Nursery End, had the dangerous Trego caught at the wicket for 35.
In the following over, Ollie Rayner had Compton caught by the leaping Neil Dexter at short mid-on for six to reduce the visitors’ to 85-3 in the twelfth over. James Hildreth joined South African test player Dean Elgar but they were tied down by the accuracy of Rayner and of Gareth Berg, who had replaced James Harris at the Nursery End. Only one boundary was scored as the pair took the visitors to 121-3 in the 23rd over before Ollie Rayner had Elgar caught by Neil Dexter at short mid-on for 15.
Ollie Rayner bowled his eight overs straight through to finish with figures of 3-31 before he was replaced by Paul Stirling. Hildreth and Barrow found it difficult to find the boundary and they took the total to 156-4 after thirty overs before Alex Barrow gave Stirling a return catch to be dismissed for 15. Somerset beneficiary, Arul Suppiah joined Hildreth who reached a 72 ball fifty, which contained just two fours, in the 34th over. Eleven runs came off the following over from Stirling before Suppiah was caught by Dawid Malan at extra-cover off Tim Murtagh’s bowling for ten.
Graig Meschede joined Hildreth with the score on 187-6 in the 36th over and when Roland-Jones returned to bowl the 37th over, Meschede hit him for a straight six into the Pavilion in an over that cost fourteen runs. The same number of runs came off the following over from Murtagh before Roland-Jones had Meschede (12) brilliantly stumped by Adam Rossington, standing-up at the wicket.
The final over, bowled by James Harris, began with Hildreth on 76 not out in a Somerset total of 221-7 and Hildreth hit the first three balls of the over into the grandstand for sixes before hitting the fourth for a four through mid-wicket. After failing to score off the penultimate ball of the innings, Hildreth reverse paddled the final ball of the innings for a boundary to complete a superb 94 ball hundred which contained 3 sixes and 7 fours and leave Middlesex chasing a total of 247-7.
Seven runs came off the first over of the Middlesex innings, bowled by left-arm spinner Dean Elgar, and after six runs came off the next over from Peter Trego, Steve Kirby came on and bowled a maiden over to Dawid Malan. Malan scored two fours in the next over from Trego before Paul Stirling hit Kirby for successive fours in the 5th over. Dawid Malan then put his foot on the gas as the Panthers reached 55-0 after the compulsory eight power-play overs with Malan driving Trego for a straight six into the Pavilion.
The Middlesex openers took the score to 71-0 in the 11th over before Stirling drove a Meschede delivery straight to Hildreth who took the catch at mid-off to dismiss Stirling for 27. Joe Denly joined Malan who scored two fours in Meschede’s following over to reach a 47 ball fifty (1 six & 7 fours). The hundred came up in the 16th over before Denly hit Suppiah for a straight six off the first ball of the 18th over. Malan, who has struggled for runs in the County Championship, was playing superbly and unleashed a number of his trademark drives through the covers.
Malan and Denly took Middlesex to 159-1 in the 24th over before Denly got a top-edge to a Waller leg-break and was caught at the wicket for 31. Malan then lost the strike for a while as Middlesex lost Chris Rogers who was well caught by Marcus Trescothick at slip, off Jamie Overton’s bowling for a single and Adam Rossington who was trapped LBW for six in Overton’s next over. Neil Dexter joined Malan with the score on 170-4 in the 27th over, and Somerset missed a chance when Waller put Malan down at extra-cover.
Malan hit Meschede through the covers to record his 11th four and take him to ninety-nine but he then got an outside edge to a Meschede delivery and Barrow took the catch at the wicket, Malan’s runs having come off exactly 100 balls. Gareth Berg joined Neil Dexter with 63 runs needed in nine overs and the pair added a further twelve runs in two overs before the batting power-play was taken.
Dexter, who had managed only nine singles from eighteen balls faced previously, then took eight runs off the first over of the power-play from Steve Kirby and added a second boundary in the following over from Meschede. Four singles came in the 36th over, bowled by Kirby, before Dexter hit the first ball of Meschede’s next over for a six over backward square-leg. After a single off the next ball, Gareth Berg hit a four and after being missed at square-leg off the next ball, Berg was caught at deep mid-on by Elgar for 17.
Ollie Rayner joined Dexter with a run a ball needed from the remaining nineteen balls and after a single off the last ball of Meschede’s over, Dexter hit the first ball of Kirby’s over for a four and with a further five runs coming in the over, nine runs were needed from the final two overs. After Rayner failed to score off the first two balls of Meschede’s over, he hit the next two balls for a four and a three but Dexter was unable to score off the remaining two balls of the over. However, Ollie Rayner pulled the first ball of the final over to the square-leg boundary to give the Panthers victory by four wickets with five balls to spare. Neil Dexter was 39 not out (off 38 balls) with Ollie Rayner 12 not out from nine balls. Meschede finished with figures of 3-53 from 8 overs with Jamie Overton taking 2-40, also from eight overs.
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