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Middlesex 210/3

Essex Eagles 211/4

Dan Lawrence struck an outstanding 86 as Essex recorded only their second win of the Vitality Blast campaign against basement boys Middlesex at Lord’s.

The 21-year-old, who like his teammates has struggled inT20 this year chose Lord’s to strike his first half-century of the campaign, plundering four sixes and seven fours in a 45-ball effort.

His heroics enabled Essex to chase down Middlesex’s 210-3 – a record score for the hosts against the men from Chelmsford in the format.

For Middlesex it was a familiar story of their bowlers having no capacity to defend a big total given them courtesy of superb half-centuries from Paul Stirling (78) and Eoin Morgan (77).

It meant a seventh successive defeat for Daniel Vettori’s side, who must now beat Sussex at Hove tomorrow night to have a chance of avoiding the South Group wooden spoon.

Dawid Malan struck boundaries off his first two deliveries, but then edged Sam Cook through to Adam Wheater.

Thereafter Stirling dominated the powerplay with a mixture of craft, ingenuity and brute force, two sixes and seven fours carrying him to fifty off 29 balls.

The Irish international and John Simpson added 66 before the latter was caught and bowled by Simon Harmer.

Stirling struck another incredible flat six over square cover, but was soon acting

as the foil to Morgan’s stunning innings.

The 31-year-old left hander began slowly before three sixes in an over off Paul Walter helped catapult him to 50 off 30 balls.

Stirling eventually holed out at long off, but Morgan’s response was to strike three maximums in an over for the second time, Matt Coles the bowler on the receiving end.

James Fuller, promoted to No 5 then weighed in with 25 off 11 balls as he and Morgan shared a stand of 58 from the final 23 deliveries.

Aussie paceman Peter Siddle (1-33) was the pick of the visitors’ attack though many were left to wonder why Ravi Bopara (0-2) bowled just the one over.

Needing 211, Essex soon lost Wheater to a stunning catch by Stevie Eskinazi off Fuller’s first ball.

New batsman Walter hit Steven Finn for an enormous straight six, but the ‘Watford Wall’ extracted almost immediate revenge when another attempted big hit found the safe hands of Malan at mid-off.

Despite the wickets runs came quickly, Lawrence hoisting Fuller for six and Varun Chopra too clearing the ropes at long-on, Finn again on the receiving end as the visitors reached 60 by the end of the powerplay.

The 50-stand came in 25 balls and the 100 was up inside 10 overs. Lawrence was the main aggressor and his fifth four coupled with two sixes carried him to 50 in just 24 balls, only the second Essex batsmen to achieve the feat in the 2018 Blast.

Then came a huge moment in James Franklin’s first over when Chopra on 35 carved a ball outside off in the air towards the boundary at square cover where young George Scott spilled the chance.

Chopra made the most of the reprieve, moving through to his own 50 off 31 balls as the century stand was realised.

The hosts needed a breakthrough and James Harris, returned at the Pavilion End to bowl Chopra for 51, leaving Essex 137-3 in the 14th.

Lawrence though motored on depositing another six into the grandstand off Franklin.

At the other end the experienced Bopara was missed off a skier by a combination of Fuller and Franklin and as Middlesex’s out fielding fell apart he was dropped again by Finn in the deep.

Lawrence departed before the end, bowled around his legs by Finn, but Bopara (31) and Ashar Zaidi (20) saw Essex home with four balls to spare.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.

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Thu 16 August
Vitality Blast 2018
Start Time: 18:15

Middlesex Middlesex
Essex Essex

Essex won by 6 wickets