Steven Finn believes this season Middlesex are showing signs similar to that of their T20 performances of 2008, when they last won the competition.
They picked up their fifth win of the season on Thursday evening, cruising to a 64 run victory against Surrey thanks in large part to Finn.
He took career-best figures of 5-16 as Surrey were all out for 146 in an uphill struggle chasing 210, set up by half-centuries for Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers.
“I bowled 4 overs for 62 four days ago [against Somerset] and tonight I’ve taken 5-16,” said Finn, “Cricket is a game of ups and downs, and remaining level through those is one of the biggest challenges that you can have as a cricketer.”
Finn did not come onto bowl against Surrey until the 12th over. At that time, the visitors were 113-2 after Aaron Finch’s 47 and with the attacking Sam Curran still at the crease.
From there, Middlesex made light work of their London rivals with Finn to the fore. He removed Curran to start the slide as Surrey lost eight wickets for 29.
“Everyone’s got very clear roles within the team, which is a good sign, and a sign very similar to that of when we won the competition.
“We know Surrey are world class. They’ve got people who can bat all the way down, so we knew we had to keep taking wickets.
“They had a fantastic start. They’re allowed to because they’re world class players but we knew that wickets would peg them back and that’s what we did.”
“I feel good; I feel happy with where I’m at. There are obviously little tweaks all the time that you want to make to keep improving, but I’m enjoying my cricket.
“It’s nice to be bowling without my knee screaming at me like it has the last couple of years.”
Finn had Rikki Clarke and Tom Curran caught in his second and third overs, before Jade Dernbach and Ben Foakes fell in his fourth over in the same fashion.
It could have been an even better night for Finn had he caught and bowled Gareth Batty a ball later, in a tough return catch diving to his left.
“That catch has almost blown my finger off with it, but delighted to get the win. It was a big game for us in the context of the competition, going five and two gives us a great boost going into the next few games.
“We seem to be gathering a bit of momentum. We’ve really started winning games and getting ourselves into positions to be able to force games.
“We’re very fortunate to have Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers here to be able to put a score on the board like that, and it makes the bowlers’ job a lot easier.”
De Villiers scored 64 while Morgan hit 70. The South African now takes a self-imposed break but will return for the final two group matches and the knockout stages if Middlesex progress.
For Surrey, their hopes look virtually gone. They sit eighth in the south group with just three points from seven games, and would need something miraculous to propel them to the top four.
“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,” captain Jade Dernbach said.
“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.”