Middlesex v Surrey T20 Vitality Blast Match Report
Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers shared a century partnership as Middlesex completed a Vitality Blast double over local rivals Surrey for the first time since 2008.
Morgan struck 70 off 37 balls – his highest score so far in this year’s tournament – while de Villiers, making his final appearance in the group stage, signed off with 64 from 40 as the pair put on 115 in 10.1 overs.
That stand, a Middlesex record for the fourth wicket in T20, set up a 64-run victory for their side – the first time they have beaten Surrey twice in the competition since they lifted the trophy 11 years ago.
Surrey skipper Aaron Finch gave his side hope with a ruthless 25-ball knock of 47 but, once he was out, their batting wilted under pressure as Steven Finn returned career-best T20 figures of 5-16 to dismiss them for 146.
Having lost the toss, Dawid Malan – who had blazed a century when his side triumphed at The Oval a fortnight ago – departed for a third-ball duck as he drove Imran Tahir into the hands of mid-off.
The home side were unable to gain traction in the powerplay, with Paul Stirling (16) leg before to Tom Curran (3-36) as he shuffled across the stumps and Stevie Eskinazi (21) run out attempting a suicidal single on the leg side.
But De Villliers and Morgan accumulated runs steadily, with the England one-day captain outscoring his partner as he slammed Tahir for three sixes in a single over.
The third of those took Morgan to his half-century from 27 balls – and De Villiers followed suit in similar fashion the following over, heaving Rikki Clarke over mid-on for a maximum that brought up the hundred partnership.
The stand was eventually broken when De Villiers toe-ended Tom Curran’s full toss to deep mid-wicket and Morgan, having creamed Jade Dernbach for his fifth six, tried to repeat the shot and was caught on the boundary.
John Simpson, with 18 from just six deliveries, ensured that Middlesex passed the 200 mark and equalled their highest T20 total at Lord’s as they closed on 210-8.
However, Finch made his intentions clear as he dispatched Tom Helm’s first four deliveries to the boundary and then clobbered Nathan Sowter for two enormous sixes into the Mound Stand.
Helm did pick up the wicket of Will Jacks (14), bowled off his pads, but Sam Curran (39 off 25) went for his shots and helped to ensure that Surrey kept up with the required rate as he and Finch put on a rapid 60.
But Sowter took his revenge on the Surrey captain, luring him out of his crease for Simpson to remove the bails and the wicketkeeper did the honours again when Curran top-edged Finn.
Finn’s fiery spell blew the middle order away, with De Villiers holding two catches in the deep as Surrey’s last eight wickets went down for 29 runs.
- THE TURNING POINT: Surrey should have run De Villiers out when he had just three to his name, but Ben Foakes’ throw missed the stumps at the non-striker’s end and sailed away for four overthrows.
- SHOT OF THE DAY: Morgan’s clean hitting at Lord’s brought back memories of the recent World Cup and his deft, wristy reverse sweep off Gareth Batty for four was one that really caught the eye.
- UNSUNG HERO: Finn’s performance with the ball took the headlines, but the consistent effort of Toby Roland-Jones, who finished with 2-22, was just as significant in squeezing Surrey during the middle overs.
- WHAT’S NEXT: Both teams are back in action on Friday, with Middlesex going up against South Group leaders Sussex at Hove and Surrey facing Gloucestershire at The Oval.
STEVEN FINN (Middlesex)
“We’re delighted to get the win – it was a big game for us in the context of the competition. I think going to 5 and 2 gives us a great boost going into the next few games.
“I think we seem to be gathering a bit of momentum in every format. Since the One-Day Cup we’ve started getting ourselves in positions to really force games.
“We’re very fortunate to have AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan here to put a score like that on the board and that makes the bowlers’ job a lot easier.
“Surrey had a fantastic start and we knew we had to keep taking wickets because they’re world-class players. We needed wickets to peg them back and luckily that’s what we did through the middle.”
JADE DERNBACH (Surrey)
“Losing’s never easy, especially in a London derby and we find ourselves in a difficult position, but we’ve got to find a way to pick ourselves up.
"We haven’t been able to put the complete performance together and we’ve got to find a way. It doesn’t have to be pretty, we can win ugly if we want.
“It was a decent wicket, the odd slower ball was gripping and there was a short boundary, plus they had a left and right-hand combination throughout the innings, which made it difficult. So I was actually pretty pleased at the halfway stage.
“We started well with the bat and I think up until the 12th or 13th over we were ahead of them and then we found a way to lose a cluster of wickets.”