A full-house at Chelmsford fell strangely quiet as Middlesex Panthers bowled Essex Eagles out for just 74 before completing a thoroughly professional eight wicket win with 10.1 overs to spare. The win, Middlesex’s fourth in the Friends Life t20 competition takes them level on points with Surrey at the top of the South Group.
Middlesex made two changes from their last t20 match with Paul Stirling returning from Ireland duty to replace Ollie Rayner and Gurjit Sandhu making his t20 debut in place of the injured Toby Roland-Jones. After James Foster won the toss for Essex and elected to bat first, they were soon in trouble with Kyle Mills taking two wickets in the opening over to reduce the hosts to 0-2. Greg Smith was caught at the wicket off the second ball of the innings and two balls later, Graham Napier was bowled off an inside-edge.
Six runs came off the second over, bowled by Gareth Berg before Mills struck again when he dismissed fellow New Zealander, Hamish Rutherford who was caught by Joe Denly at extra-cover for two. Gurjit Sandhu then replaced Berg for the fourth over and he struck twice in the over to leave the Essex innings in ruins. Jaik Mickleburgh was caught at the wicket for a single and Ryan ten Doeschate was bowled off an inside-edge for a first ball duck.
After Kyle Mills conceded just a single in his third over, Owais Shah offered some defiance by hitting Gurjit Sandhu for three fours in an over. Shah and James Foster took the Essex total to 39-5 before Foster was bowled in Neil Dexter’s first over for three. Tim Phillips and Shah then added twenty runs before Shah went down the track to a Ravi Patel delivery and he was stumped for 39 (off 43 balls).
Shun Tait joined Phillips at the wicket but only a further six runs were added before Phillips was caught at extra-cover by Dawid Malan for sixteen to give Neil Dexter a second wicket. Adam Voges replaced Ravi Patel at the River End and he had Tait caught at the wicket for a single, off his first delivery. Tymal Mills hit Voges for a six onto the roof of the Press Box but the innings ended in only the 17th over when Reece Topley was bowled by Gareth Berg as Essex were bowled out for just 74, their lowest score in Twenty20 cricket.
Kyle Mills had figures of 3-4 in 3 overs with Gurjit Sandhu taking 2-15 in 2 overs, Neil Dexter 2-18 in 4 overs, Ravi Patel 1-15 in 4 overs, Gareth Berg 1-12 in 2.5 overs with Adam Voges taking 1-8 in one over; Adam Rossington had four victims behind the stumps.
After three singles came off the opening over from Graham Napier, Shaun Tait had Paul Stirling caught at the wicket for two. Joe Deny joined Dawid Malan at the wicket and Denly struck three fours in Graham Napier’s second over. After five runs came off the first two balls of Tait’s second over, Denly was badly dropped by Greg Smith at mid-on but Dawid Malan was then bowled off an inside edge for ten to leave Middlesex on 26-2 in the fourth over.
Adam Voges got off the mark, first ball with a two off Tait and with plenty of overs in hand, Denly and Voges were content to push the ball around for ones and twos with the occasional boundary. Tait was brought back to bowl the seventh over but he conceded twelve runs in his over which included two wides, the second of which went to the boundary which summed up Essex’s night. Joe Denly was 34 not out (off 27 balls) with Adam Voges 22 not out from 19 balls.
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