Thursday 26 July 2007 

Mustard Too Hot For Middlesex

Wicket-keeper Phil Mustard hit a scintillating 49 from just 21 balls as Durham won their opening NatWest Pro40 Division Two match against Middlesex by 5 wickets in a game that was reduced to 19 overs per side at the Riverside.

Chasing 146 to win, Mustard gave his side the perfect start in true Twenty20, or perhaps Nineteen19, fashion, striking 9 fours after Michael Di Venuto's comeback was marked with a golden duck. Mustard quickly added 73 for the second wicket with Kyle Coetzer, whose contribution was a modest, but swift 28.

That start put Durham into the driving seat and after Gordon Muchall and Dale Benkenstein also hit pacey knocks of 25 and 30, it was left to man of the moment Ottis Gibson and Garry Park to hit the winning runs, victory coming with three balls to spare.

Tim Murtagh took three wickets for 26 from his four overs, a creditable return, but the Middlesex bowlers never had quite enough to bowl at, and even less once Mustard had turned on the fireworks.

Middlesex will rue their batting, which failed to fire, openers Eoin Morgan and Ed Smith excepted. Morgan continued his impressive conversion as an opener by hitting 52 from 46 as he and Smith, who made 30 from 19 balls, put on 37 for the first wicket in 17 minutes.

There was a useful 19 from Owais Shah, which helped move the score to 69 but after his dismissal, no other batsman could score more than 13. Paul Wiseman did much of the damage, removing Morgan, Neil Compton (8) and Ed Joyce (13) to finish with figures of three for 30 but it was as much the tight bowling of Liam Plunkett (0-22 from 4) and that man Gibson (2-31 from 4) which tied the Middlesex batsmen down, laying the platform for Mustard's match-winning magic later in the day.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007