Middlesex’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Friends Life t20 competition hang on thread following a 86 run defeat at the hands of London rivals Surrey. Watched by a capacity crowd of 28,000 at Lord’s, Middlesex were dismissed for just 92, their lowest t20 score, with six overs remaining; only two of their batsmen reached double figures.
Middlesex made one change from the side that defeated Sussex at Hove in the previous game with Eoin Morgan replacing Ollie Rayner; Australian legend, Ricky Ponting was injured and missed a probable last appearance at Lord’s for Surrey. Jason Roy and Stephen Davies opened the batting for Surrey after Neil Dexter won the toss for Middlesex and invited the visitors’ to bat first.
Only four runs came off the opening over from Kyle Mills but after eight runs came off Gurjit Sandhu’s opening over, Gareth Berg replaced Mills at the Pavilion End and struck twice in an over. Davies (5) was well caught by Joe Denly running in from the square-leg boundary before Roy was LBW for eleven to reduce Surrey to 17-2.
Kevin O’Brien joined veteran Vikram Solanki and the pair ran riot in adding ninety runs as the visitors reached 107-2 in the 11th over before O’Brien was bowled by Ravi Patel for 54 off just 24 balls (3 sixes & 6 fours). Patel bowled his four overs straight through and took a further two wickets in his final over having Solanki caught by Neil Dexter at short extra-cover for 37 (off 27 balls) and having Gary Wilson stumped by Adam Rossington for four.
Zulfar Ansari joined Azhar Mahmood with the score on 116-5 in the 13th over and the pair took Surrey to 174-5 before Gareth Berg bowled the final over of the innings. Azhar Mahmood took a single off the first ball of the over but he was run out off the third ball for 35 when he was beaten by Gurjit Sandhu’s direct hit on the stumps from backward square-leg. Jonathan Lewis was then bowled for a first ball duck and with Chris Tremlett scoring a two and a single off the last two balls of the over, Surrey finished on 178-7 from their twenty overs. Ansari was 23 not out, Ravi Patel had figures of 3-28 with Gareth Berg taking 3-37 from four overs.
After five runs came off the opening over from Chris Tremlett, Dawid Malan was caught by Jade Dernbach at mid-on for a duck off the first ball of Azhar Mahmood’s over. After Joe Denly got off the mark with a single, Paul Stirling took ten runs off the remainder of the over before Denly got a top-edge to a Tremlett delivery and was caught by Lewis at third man for a single. Paul Stirling then hit a Tremlett no-ball out of the ground for a six but was only able to gain a leg-bye off the following free-hit.
Adam Voges was out for a second ball duck when he was caught by Kevin O’Brien at mid-off from Tremlett’s bowling and when Paul Stirling was caught at short third-man for 19 in the following over from Azhar Mahmood, Middlesex were reduced to 25-4. Adam Rossington joined Eoin Morgan who struck Tremlett for successive fours before he was caught by Jason Roy at backward point for nine to give Lewis a wicket.
Neil Dexter joined Rossington with the score on 40-5 after the six powerplay overs but Rossington fell in Jade Dernbach’s opening over when he found Gary Wilson at mid-on to be dismissed for five. With the game as good as over, Gareth Berg launched a counter-attack as he and Neil Dexter took the Panthers to 75-6 at the half-way point of the innings with sixteen runs coming off Gareth Batty’s opening over. The pair added thirty-seven runs for the sixth wicket before Dexter, who had only received seven balls in the partnership, was LBW to Ansari for three.
Kyle Mills joined Berg who was then bowled by Batty for 33 (off 19 balls) to leave Middlesex on a sorry 79-8. Ravi Patel was bowled by Ansari for a single but the last wicket pair of Mills and Gurjit Sandhu took Middlesex to 92-9 before Mills was stumped off Gareth Batty’s bowling for seven. It was a very good display by the six Surrey bowlers who shared all ten wickets, backed up by some excellent catching and ground fielding.
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