Middlesex Panthers recorded their first win in the NatWest t20 Blast when they defeated Somerset on a glorious summer’s evening at the Kia Oval by eight wickets with seventeen balls to spare. After losing Dawid Malan and skipper Eoin Morgan for 27 runs, an unbroken partnership of 128 between Joe Denly, who finished two runs short of a hundred, and Ryan Higgins on his first-team debut with 44 not out, saw the Panthers’ achieve their first win in seven matches.
Middlesex made two changes from the side that was defeated by Kent at Canterbury with Ryan Higgins coming into the side in place of the injured Paul Stirling and Gurjit Sandhu replacing Toby Roland-Jones. After James Hildreth won the toss for Somerset and elected to bat first, only a single was scored off the opening over from Gurjit Sandhu and two singles were scored in the second over, bowled by Dan Christian. However sixteen runs came from the next over from James Harris with Craig Kieswetter hitting him for three fours followed by Craig Jones taking fourteen runs in Dan Christian’s second over with Jones hitting three fours.
The Somerset total reached 49-0 after the six powerplay overs at which point Ravi Patel was introduced to the attack to bowl his left-arm spin. Seven runs came off his opening over and after six runs came off the following over from Neil Dexter, Ravi Patel had Jones caught by Neil Dexter on the mid-wicket boundary for 28. Patel struck again in his next over when Peter Trego was also caught by Neil Dexter on the mid-wicket boundary for three to reduce the visitors to 70-2 in the 11th over.
Alviro Petersen joined Kieswetter who reached a 43 ball fifty (5 fours) in the 14th over and although Kieswetter hit Ravi Patel for a six when he returned to bowl his final over, Patel finished with figures of 2-24 in four overs. With the total on 109-2, Gurjit Sandhu returned to bowl the 17th over and he dismissed Petersen for 14 when the batsman got himself into a tangle attempting a scoop-shot and he was bowled. Seven runs came off the remainder of the over before fourteen runs came from Ollie Rayner’s last over.
After eighteen runs came off the penultimate over from Gurjit Sandhu, James Harris who had conceded 24 runs in two earlier overs, returned to bowl the final over of the Somerset innings. After a single and a bye off the first two balls of the over, Craig Kieswetter’s innings of 74 ended when Dawid Malan held a fine catch at deep mid-wicket against the sun. With only two singles coming off the last three balls, the Somerset innings ended on 152-4 with Hildreth 26 not out. Gurjit Sandhu had figures of 1-34 from 4 overs with James Harris taking 1-27 in 3 overs whilst Neil Dexter conceded only 17 runs in 3 overs.
Joe Denly and Dawid Malan opened the innings for the Panthers but after only a single came off the first four balls from Peter Trego, Dawid Maln was LBW for a first ball duck. Eoin Morgan joined Denly and after Denly took seven runs off the second over from Dirk Nannes, both Denly and Morgan hit sixes in Trego’s second over which went for nineteen runs. However, Morgan was out for seven when he pulled a Dirk Nannes’ delivery straight into the hands of Craig Overton at deep backward square-leg.
Ryan Higgins came in with the score on 27-2 and after taking just two singles off the first six balls he faced, he hit Craig Overton for two sixes in an over as Middlesex reached 50-2 after the powerplay overs. Thereafter, Higgins was content with scoring mainly singles to give Denly the strike. The total reached 74-2 at the half-way point of the innings but nine runs came off the next over from Max Waller before Joe Denly hit Craig Overton for a straight six which brought up his fifty off 36 balls (2 sixes & 4 fours).
The Panthers reached 100-2 after thirteen overs before Denly hit Meschede for two sixes in the next over and Denly went on to hit a further six fours as he reached 98 not out off just 60 balls (4 sixes & 10 fours) as Middlesex reached the target with seventeen balls to spare. Ryan Higgins batted splendidly on his debut to finish on 44 not out from 37 balls with two sixes and a four.
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