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Middlesex’s Disability D40 First Eleven side continued their brilliant run of form, claiming a six wicket victory against title challengers Lancashire at William Perkin School.

Playing with ten men after a late drop out due to illness, Middlesex went into the game knowing that a win would knock Lancashire all but out of the title race, with a big season finale against second place Yorkshire up next.

With last month’s trip to Sussex being abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain, coupled with wins for Yorkshire and Lancashire, Middlesex needed to beat them both to secure top spot in this year’s D40 Quest.

Captain James Nordin (8-1-37-1) won the toss and elected to field, and he struck in the first over when the Lancashire opener edged behind to Elliot Brown, who took the catch.

Another early wicket, this time from Mohammed Farooq (8-2-30-1), saw the visitors struggling at 23/2, before a hundred run partnership for the third wicket unsettled the early rhythm.

Ben Mason (5-1-15-1) made the breakthrough, with the Lancashire captain falling for 48 when he picked out Matthew Jones, who claimed his second catch of the day. Jones (8-1-30-1) was quickly in on the act with the ball as well, removing the visitors’ main threat for 59, caught by Nordin, with just over eight overs to go.

George Greenway (7-0-41-1) then took the fifth wicket, clean bowling the batter, to give wickets to five different Middlesex bowlers, before some late runs saw the visitors finish on 182/5.

In reply, Middlesex openers Umesh Valjee and Aryan Janjale guided the hosts through a tricky opening spell, before Janjale (10) fell with the score on 54.

This brought Naseer Butt to the crease, who entertained with a magnificent 53 from just 25 balls, in a show of incredible hitting against one of the country’s best disability spinners – including scoring 34 runs in two destructive overs. He hit seven fours and three sixes, before he top edged one to depart with the score on 116.

Valjee watchfully brought up his half-century, whilst Greenway provided some support at the other end as Middlesex sped towards their victory target. Greenway (20) was then caught in the 24th over, with 28 runs to win.

Nordin (2*) then watched from the non-strikers end as Valjee completed the victory in the next three overs, to take him to a brilliant unbeaten run-a-ball 85*.

The D40 First Eleven now head north to Yorkshire on Sunday 16 July, knowing that a victory that restricts the opposition to under ten bonus points will guarantee them the Quest title for the first time, having finished second two years running.

The D40 2XI are also on a hot streak, beating Northamptonshire last weekend by 25 runs. They host Surrey next week, where a win will see them overtake our London rivals in the table, before finishing the season against Northamptonshire on Sunday 23 July.

Despite defeat on the Isle of Wight, the Super 9s are leading the way in the Super 9s South East league, and travel to second-placed Essex in two weeks time.

You can see the scorecard here.

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