MIDDLESEX V SURREY - Royal London One-Day Cup - 2
Middlesex 101-8 (16 Overs). Surrey 105-5 (15.2 Overs). Surrey won by 5
Surrey held their nerve at drizzly,
floodlit Lord's to beat Middlesex by five wickets with four balls to
spare in a rain-shortened match and grab the last place on offer in
the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals. Surrey, last year's
beaten finalists, will now face Northamptonshire in the last eight, at
Ben Foakes and Zafar Ansari, the fifth wicket pair,
were Surrey's batting heroes as they put on 66 in 8.5 overs to chase
down Middlesex's 101 for 8 in what became a 16 overs per side contest
after coming together at 35 for 4.
Foakes eventually chipped the fourth ball of the
15th over to mid on, with the scores level and after scoring 45 from
33 balls with two sixes and four fours, leaving Ansari to hit the
winning run from the second ball of the final over by pulling Toby
Roland-Jones for his first four and finish 29 not out from 28 balls.
For Middlesex, who would have earned a quarter-final
themselves if they had won, it was a desperately disappointing night.
Ironically, if the match had been declared a no result - which for
most of a dank day seemed the likely outcome - Middlesex would have
qualified instead of Surrey.
Kent's win at Sussex and Hampshire's narrow loss to
Somerset, the south group winners, meant that both sides knew well
before the end of the match that, if they won, they would take the
final quarter-final place available.
Surrey, though, went hard from ball one even with an
initial asking rate of just above six runs an over, and losing four
key wickets in the first six overs of their chase put them under
Jason Roy, driving expansively at the first ball of
the innings, edged Roland-Jones to the keeper and, in the second over,
Steven Davies flashed James Harris to slip where Ollie Rayner leapt to
his left to hold a fine catch.
Rory Burns dragged a ball from Harris into his
stumps on 5 and then, after smashing three sixes - two in an over from
Roland-Jones, to mid wicket and straight, and the other over long off
against Harris - Aaron Finch was bowled for 24 by off spinner Rayner,
whose celebrations underlined how important a moment Middlesex thought
it was. Sadly for them, however, the superb Foakes-Ansari partnership
then took the game away from them.
Play finally got under way at 6.30pm, after a
frustrating afternoon of heavy showers and abortive attempts to mop up
by the Lord's groundstaff. Much of Middlesex's innings, too, was
played in light drizzle, with both teams determined to stay out in the
middle and get a match played.
A frenzied opening to the game saw Paul Stirling
power Jade Dernbach through the covers for four and flat-bat a ball
from Tom Curran over mid wicket for six. Nick Gubbins, too, pulled Sam
Curran sweetly for six but, before the third over was done, Middlesex
were wobbling at 23 for 3.
Dawid Malan went for a first ball duck, caught
behind flashing at Dernbach, the left-handed Gubbins was spectacularly
caught one-handed by keeper Foakes, diving to his left, when on 7 he
edged a drive at Tom Curran, who then foxed Stirling with a slower
off-cutter to defeat his push-drive and bowl him for 13.
George Bailey pulled Dernbach for six but was then
bowled for 12 by Gareth Batty's arm ball as he advanced to the off
spinner, and James Franklin's 13 ended with a lofted catch to long on
off Tom Curran.
John Simpson played a responsible hand, with 29 from
28 balls, but then edged behind as he tried to angle to third man a
ball pushed across him by Stuart Meaker.
Driven off by heavier drizzle at 86 for 6, after
12.4 overs, Middlesex limped to their final total of 101 for 8 after a
twenty minute interruption, with Roland-Jones and Rayner caught
attempting big hits and the match length reduced again to 16 overs per
side because of the further time lost.
Ben Foakes said: "When I went in it was quite tough
but Zafar is very good to bat with in that sort of situation because
he is very calm and said we just needed to get our ones and twos and
then catch up later with a big over. So we just knocked it around for
a bit and tried to stay in the game."
Gareth Batty, Surrey's captain, added: "I thought
both Ben and Zafar batted quite magnificently. Yes, there were nerves
in our dressing room because there was so much on this game. We came
up just short in this competition last year and we really want to try
to go one better this time.
"Northants are a very tough team, though, and they
come hard at you in one-day cricket. It will be a heck of a battle up
there but we are looking forward to it. We were confident tonight at
halfway, but the new ball was always going to be tough with it
nibbling around a bit in the damp conditions so we just wanted our top
order to do what they do best and go for their shots."
James Franklin, the Middlesex captain, said: "In
shortened games like this it is always a big advantage to bat second,
but I thought we were 20 runs or so short of what we needed. But we
also had an opportunity when they were 35 for 4. We just couldn't take
those opportunities tonight, with bat and ball, and Surrey played
really well and deserved to go through."