Middlesex Panthers suffered their first defeat in the Friends Life t20 competition when they were beaten by 24 runs at a sun drenched Lord’s before a large crowd. Batting first, the Sussex Sharks made a massive 202-3 off their 20 overs and although Paul Stirling and Dawid Malan gave the Panthers a good start in reply, the middle order was unable to keep up with the required run-rate.
Middlesex fielded the same side that won against Kent at Canterbury on Friday and Sussex batted first having won the toss. After six runs came off the first and also off the second over, Chris Nash hit Tim Murtagh for two fours and a six in Murtagh’s first over. Twenty runs came off Murtagh’s second over with Luke Wright hitting him for eighteen runs off the first four balls of the over. Five runs came off Gareth Berg’s opening over as the Sharks reached 58-0 after the six power-play overs.
The Sussex openers took the score to 84-0 in the 10th over before Chris Nash was bowled by Adam Voges for 45 (off 30 balls). Rory Hamilton-Brown joined Wright and the pair accelerated the scoring rate with Wright reaching a 37 ball fifty (1 six & 7 fours). Ollie Rayner, who had opened the bowling at the start of the innings, returned to bowl the 14th over but Wright scored thirteen runs off the last five balls of the over. Wright hit the first ball of the next over for a six and with a further ten runs coming off the over from Josh Davey, Sussex were 149-1 after 15 overs.
Tim Murtagh returned at the Pavilion End and he dismissed Luke Wright for a superb 81 off 49 balls (2 sixes & 10 fours) when he was caught at long-on by Josh Davey. Hamilton-Brown and Dwayne Smith took the total to 199-2 before Kyle Mills held a return catch to dismiss Hamilton-Brown for 47 (off 29 balls). Scott Styris joined Smith with two balls of the innings remaining but he did not face a ball as Smith scored a two and a single as Sussex finished with a massive 202-3 from their twenty overs.
Paul Stirling and Dawid Malan scored thirteen runs off the first two overs before Stirling hit the first ball of the third over for a six and a total of sixteen runs came from Liddle’s over. The total reached 49-1 in the 5th over before Stirling was dropped by Hamilton-Brown at extra-cover when Gatting and Hamilton-Brown couldn’t decide who should take the catch. The total reached 64-0 in the 7th over before Stirling fell to a superb running catch by Dwayne Smith at long-on, Stirling having made 33 off 22 balls.
Joe Denly joined Dawid Malan at the wicket but the pair found it difficult to accelerate against the spin bowling of Chris Nash and Will Beer. Malan reached a 37 ball fifty (7 fours) and the hundred came up in the 12th over. However, Denly fell to a magnificent diving catch by Joe Gatting at long-on for a run-a-ball fourteen. Malan hit Beer for a six but he was out in the following over from Nash when he was bowled for 61.
Adam Rossington joined Adam Voges at the wicket but Voges fell to the first ball of the 15th over when he attempted a reverse sweep off Yardy and was caught at short third man for five. Neil Dexter hit the second ball he faced for a six but when Rossington fell to a running catch by Chris Jordan at mid-wicket, Middlesex were 125-5 with only five overs remaining. Nine runs came off the following over from Beer before Neil Dexter hit Chris Liddle for successive sixes as the total reached 147-5 after 17 overs.
Chris Jordan returned at the Pavilion End and with his second delivery, Jordan had Dexter caught on the mid-wicket boundary for 27 (off 10 balls). Gareth Berg scored three runs off the next two balls of the over before Josh Davey was bowled behind his legs for a first ball duck. When Gareth Berg was caught at long-off from the first ball of Liddle’s over, Middlesex were 151-8 with just eleven balls remaining.
Ollie Rayner and Kyle Mills scored fifteen runs off the remainder of the over and Middlesex were then credited with six penalty runs as Sussex had failed to meet the cut-off time by which the final over of the innings was due to have started (it was surprising as Sussex had bowled 12 overs of spin). A further six runs came in the final over as Middlesex finished on 178-8 to leave Sussex the winners by 24 runs. The three Sussex spinners conceded just ninety runs in twelve overs with Yardy taking 3-30, Chris Nash 1-25 and Will Beer 1-35, all from four overs; Chris Jordan took 2-29 in his four overs.
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