On a glorious summer’s evening at Lord’s and before a full-house, Middlesex lost their final home match in the NatWest t20 Blast to local rivals Surrey. The match was full of drama with the visitors slipping from 114-4 in pursuit of only 137 runs posted by the Panthers before getting home by two wickets off the last ball of the match.
After Eoin Morgan won the toss for Middlesex and elected to bat first, Joe Denly and Dawid Malan opened the innings and Denly was the beneficiary of a miss by Gareth Batty at slip off the third ball of the match, off the bowling of Michael Dunn. Nineteen runs came off the first three overs before sixteen runs came off Stuart Meaker’s first over with Denly hitting him for successive fours although the last one went like a rocket through the hands of Ansari at point. However, Azhar Mahmood returned to the attack in the next over and he bowled Denly for sixteen.
Eoin Morgan joined Malan and the pair took the Panthers to 51-1 after the six powerplay overs before Morgan hit Batty for a four and a six off successive deliveries in an over that cost thirteen runs. The total reached 66-1 in the eighth over before Dawid Malan was stumped by Burns off the bowling of Dilshan for 25 (off 17 balls). Ryan Higgins joined Morgan and the pair were made to struggle for runs against the spin bowling of Dilshan and Robin Petersen.
Dilshan finished his four overs with figures of 1-18 as the Panthers reached 85-2 after twelve overs before Higgins pulled Petersen for two sixes over mid-wicket in the space of three balls. Gareth Batty returned to bowl the 14th over and Eoin Morgan pulled him for a big six over mid-wicket. However, Stuart Meaker returned to bowl the 15th over and he struck twice in the over, bowling Morgan for 43 (off 32 balls, 2 sixes, 4 fours) and also bowled Ryan Higgins two balls later for a run-a-ball innings of 21.
Neil Dexter joined Dan Christian at the wicket with the total on 113-4 but only a further seven runs were scored before Dexter was caught by Dunn on the mid-wicket boundary for three to give Meaker a third wicket. John Simpson was then run out for a single by Gary Wilson’s direct hit on the bowlers’ end stumps and Ollie Rayner was bowled by Azhar Mahmood for a duck in the same over as Middlesex were reduced to 128-7.
Harry Podmore joined Dan Christian with thirteen balls remaining but Christian fell to the first ball of the 19th over when Gareth Batty took a brilliant diving catch on the long-on boundary to dismiss him for thirteen off Meaker’s bowling. Steve Finn and Harry Podmore added a further nine runs off the remaining eleven balls as the Middlesex innings closed on 137-8 with Finn 6 not out and Podmore 3 not out. Stuart Meaker had figures of 4-30 in 4 overs with Azhar Mahmood taking 2-18 in his four overs.
Steve Finn opened the bowling for the Panthers and he had Jason Roy dropped by Ollie Rayner, running from slip to short third-man off the second ball of the Surrey innings. However, off the fifth ball of the over, Finn had Dilshan caught at the wicket by John Simpson for a duck. Kevin Pietersen was then given a mixed reception by the crowd as he joined Jason Roy at the wicket.
Harry Podmore conceded just three runs in the second over of the innings and the total had reached only 16-1 after four overs before Podmore returned to bowl the fifth over. Seventeen runs came from the over with Podmore bowling two no-balls and also having Roy dropped by Ryan Higgins at deep mid-wicket before Roy hit him for a six off a free-hit. With fourteen runs coming off Dan Christian’s second over, Surrey reached 47-1 after the powerplay overs.
Ravi Patel then came on at the Pavilion End and with his third delivery he had Jason Roy stumped by John Simpson for 21. Ollie Rayner came on at the Nursery End and he had Kevin Pietersen caught at long-on by Dawid Malan for 28 to reduce Surrey to 57-3. Ravi Patel struck again in his second over when he had Gary Wilson stumped by John Simpson for six to leave Surrey on 62-4 after nine overs.
Azhar Mahmood joined Rory Burns and they were content to push the ones and twos as the visitors reached 84-4 after thirteen overs with Ravi Patel completing his four overs with figures of 2-15. Neil Dexter came on to bowl at the Nursery End but his only over went for twelve runs with Burns hitting him for a six over mid-wicket. Ten runs came off the following over from Dan Christian and Harry Podmore conceded seven runs off the first three deliveries of the 16th over before Burns got a top-edge to an attempted pull and John Simpson took a well-judged catch running back towards fine-leg to dismiss Burns for 28.
Robin Peterson joined Mahmood with the total on 113-5 and they added a further eleven runs before Mahmood was out when John Simpson took a blinding catch at the wicket, diving full-length to his right to dismiss Mahmood for 28 and give Podmore a second wicket. Steve Finn then had Robin Peterson caught by Eoin Morgan at mid-off for twelve and when the final over of the match began, Surrey were133-7.
Needing just five runs to win, Dan Christian had Gareth Batty well caught by Joe Denly at deep mid-wicket for a single off the first ball of the over. Stuart Meaker joined Zulfar Ansari at the wicket and they scored four runs off the next four balls to level the scores. Ansari then pushed the final ball of the match into the covers and the batsmen scrambled a single to win the match for Surrey by two wickets. Steve Finn had figures of 2-23 from 4 overs with Harry Podmore taking 2-32 in 4 overs, Dan Christian 1-33 in 4 overs and Ollie Rayner 1-22 in 3 overs. John Simpson was outstanding behind the stumps and finished with five victims with three catches and two stumpings.
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