Middlesex storm to Blast double over Surrey

Middlesex storm to Blast double over Surrey

AB de Villiers (pic via Middlesex YouTube, with thanks)

Half-centuries from Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers and a maiden T20 five-wicket-haul for Steven Finn handed Middlesex a comprehensive 64-run victory and a Vitality Blast double over Surrey.

Finn came into the attack in the 12th over but quickly made inroads, having Sam Curran caught behind off a skier. De Villiers caught Rikki Clarke in Finn’s next over and the pair combined again to dismiss Tom Curran an over later.

The England paceman was on a hat-trick in his final over, having Jade Dernbach and Ben Foakes — inexplicably hidden at number eight — caught before dropping a difficult caught and bowled a ball later. He finished with 5-16 as Surrey were all out for 146.

Earlier, Morgan had began relatively sedately with 12 from his first 8 balls but then put his foot on the accelerator, slapping over mid off, reverse sweeping and pulling boundaries in three consecutive overs.

He took a particular liking to Imran Tahir. The legspinner had claimed Dawid Malan’s wicket third ball of the match, caught at cover, but Morgan was brutal.

Morgan slog swept into the Mount Stand in his third over, before taking 21 from Tahir’s fourth over, slog sweeping six again before clearing cow corner and going big straight in consecutive deliveries to bring up a 27-ball half-century.

He and de Villiers added 115 for the fourth wicket in just 63 balls as Middlesex once again took apart Surrey. Visiting captain Dernbach chose to bowl first and for the second time this season Middlesex went past 200 in the derby – racking up 210.

De Villiers had scored freely from Tahir’s second over, running one fine before unleashing a divine wristy drive through cover. He sold Stevie Eskinazi down the river, turning down a quick single to midwicket, but more than made up for it.

The South African played second fiddle to Morgan in the early stages of their stand, but was always positive. Five fours came in his 64 with a six just over wide long on bringing up his half-century.

Tom Curran had him six balls later, shanking a slog sweep to deep square on 64, but he departed to a rich ovation from a sold out crowd. This is his final appearance for Middlesex unless they reach the knockout stages – and the Lord’s faithful will be optimistic of seeing him in pink again this season.

Morgan was dropped on 60 – a mighty tough chance at backward point – before clearing long on by a matter of inches, passing 100 T20 sixes for Middlesex in the process. He was not so lucky two balls later, Ollie Pope taking a simple catch.

John Simpson and Toby Roland-Jones struck three consecutive sixes to get the hosts above 200 for the third time this season – their previous best was twice in a season. Their batting, albeit now missing de Villiers, looks the stuff of bowler’s nightmares right now.

Surrey only briefly looked like getting close to their target. Aaron Finch looked to recreate his Oval heroics of a year ago, when he scored 117 from just 52, taking 16 from Tom Helm’s first over. He looked effortless driving through cover and equally so clearing the legside fence, pulling and slog sweeping sixes against Nathan Sowter.

Paul Stirling was plonked over midwicket too before Sowter got the Australian stumped, down the wicket and with John Simpson dropping the ball onto the stumps. Finch and Sam Curran had added 60 in just 32 balls after Will Jacks was bowled.

Curran, being used at number three with Surrey missing key batsman Jason Roy, looked in fine touch, elegant square of the wicket. He was given a life by Toby Roland-Jones, dropped one-handed at long on seeming not to know where the boundary was, but a ball later Simpson made no mistake with a skier to give Finn his first, and the game was beyond Surrey.

Surrey have just three points from seven games, look incredibly light on batting, and any hope of reaching the knockout stages seems remarkably slim. Middlesex, however, look a well-drilled unit and, after 11 long years, T20 success is very much within reach.

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