A brilliant eighth-wicket stand between Steven Crook and Ollie Rayner was not quite enough to help Middlesex to a famous victory under the Lord’s floodlights. The Panthers had slipped to 88 for seven in the 15th over in pursuit of Essex’s 155 for six, as Tim Phillips made the most of some questionable shots from the home side’s batsmen to take three for 27. With 68 needed from 31 balls and only three wickets in hand, the match appeared dead, but no-one had told Crook and Rayner. The former started the fightback hitting two sixes in the space of three balls, while Rayner followed it up with 10 runs from the first three balls of James Franklin’s second over.
This brought the target down to 31 from twelve balls, with Graham Napier bowling a penultimate over that went for 12; and with 19 needed from the last over, Crook took strike in what was, by now, pouring rain. Having used up his strike bowlers, Essex captain James Foster – who again put in an immaculate performance behind the stumps – was forced to call upon the slow medium-pace of Greg Smith. He immediately removed Crook for 22 from only 10 balls, but Middlesex were still not done yet, as Rayner dispatched the next three balls for 10 runs to leave nine needed from the final two. He drilled the penultimate ball to deep extra cover, only to find the fielder and the match was over with the hosts ending on 148 for nine with Rayner unbeaten with 39 from only 21 deliveries.
All of the visitors’ batsmen had earlier contributed to Essex’s total of 155 for six, with Ryan ten Doeschate’s 38 from 27 balls the highest individual contribution. Mark Pettini (26 from 18 balls), James Franklin (23 from 31), and Graham Napier (28 from 12) were the pick of the rest of the batsmen.
The match at Edgbaston between Somerset and Warwickshire was abandoned 7.1 overs into the visitors’ first innings due to the weather. Nick Compton ended with 26 from 19 balls as Somerset reached 59 for one.
Today’s results see Somerset remain top of the Midlands/West/Wales Group, with the Bears moving into second. Essex move up to second in the South Group, with Middlesex remaining in fifth.
Tomorrow’s Fixtures: (start times in brackets, GMT)
North Group, Leicestershire v Derbyshire at Grace Road (1630)
North Group, Durham v Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street (1700)
North Group, Lancashire v Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford (1800)
Mid/West/Wales Group, Gloucestershire v Northamptonshire at Bristol (1630)
Mid/West/Wales Group, Somerset v Glamorgan at Taunton (1630)
Mid/West/Wales Group, Worcestershire v Warwickshire at New Road (1630)
South Group, Essex v Surrey at Chelmsford (1800)
South Group, Hampshire v Kent at Southampton (1800)
South Group, Sussex v Middlesex at Hove (1800)
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow will be cloudy and wet, with the worst of the rain confined to the north and west. Those matches in the South Group are likely to escape most of the weather, but expect those at Old Trafford and New Road to suffer particularly badly.
County News In Brief:
Surrey’s postponed Twenty20 game against Hampshire has been re-arranged for Monday 2nd July at 1730 GMT. The match was postponed as a “mark of respect” for Tom Maynard, whose funeral will take place two days later at Llandaff Cathedral at 1145 GMT.
Former Yorkshire and England captain Michael Vaughan is believed to have signed up as a contestant on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Gloucestershire coach John Bracewell has said that the club are unlikely to make any new signings due to budgetary restraints. He anticipates that this will only change when the club are able to start hosting One-Day Internationals – hopefully in 2014.
Due to a scoring error, Essex CCC have confirmed that Kent actually only required two to win from the last ball of their match at Chelmsford last night, and not the four that last man Mark Davies was attempting to hit when he was bowled. It is understood that the official record of the match will stand – that of Kent losing by three runs.
© Cricket World 2012
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