So, we have a win in the tank in this competition. Our selection and performance clicked for the very time against Worcestershire, which is nice.
I leave everything the hell alone. Firstly because I still have no players, due to internationals and T20s and injuries blah blah, and secondly because … why wouldn’t I?
However, today’s opponents are Middlesex and, without belittling Worcs who were far from awful, they will be a far stronger test.
They also seem to have been shredded of their stars. But they still have Australian international Peter Handscomb, Irishman Tim Murty, English Test player Sam Robson and West Indian Miguel Cummins.
So a not too awful second team, then.
Oh glory be! We win the toss! I look at the conditions. “We’ll bat!” I squeak to the umpire.
Come on lads – once again: go big or go home!
Tom Haines and Luke Wells take the openers’ berth as before.
Sadly, the platform isn’t quite as stable as it was last time out, as Harris clean bowls Wells for 4 in the third over. 6-1.
The run rate is too low, and I gradually have to increase the aggression of both Haines and Travis Head.
It works – to a point. We get the run rate over 4 but Murtagh makes the break through, getting Haines lbw for 25. 54-2.
It’s not the worst start we’ve made and it brings Stiaan van Zyl to the wicket. These are our best two batsmen.
Not long after, van Zyl is trapped stone dead leg before. But, a no ball and the big Saffer dispatches the free hit for 4.
Both men soon start to look settled but, by the 25th over, we’re 105-2. 4.2 an over won’t be enough. We have to keep pick up the pace.
I march to the balcony, scream “Get a move on you Southern Hemisphere wastes of oxygen!”
The right honourable gentlemen heed my instructions. We score 40 runs in the next six overs.
Sadly, Head snicks behind when he’s on 65 and Tom Lace takes the catch behind the stumps. Ethan Bamber has his first wicket of the day. 145-3.
Van Zyl and George Munsey – who has been great this tournament – keep on going. Van Zyl brings up the 200 with a sweetly struck boundary.
The big man’s century duly arrives as he hits yet another boundary. 102 off 109 has been an excellent knock. 239-3.
It’s a knock that is over first ball of the next over, as Cummins bowls him through the gate. 239-4.
Ben Brown joins Munsey but the run rate drops. Eventually, Munsey finishes 50 not out from 50 balls.
However, 256-4 is decent but not going to set the world on fire. But, let’s be honest, three half centuries out of 4 wickets lost is not bad. Especially for us.
I work on those bowling plans and set defensive fields.
Olly Robinson and Stuart Meaker begin charging in. Nick Gubbins and Tom Lace are watchful and respectful.
Lace misjudges one from Meaker, and is given the finger from the umpire first ball of the second over. 2-1.
Aadil Ali comes in and boundaries seem hard to come by for the visitors.
Robinson draws Gubbins forward, and Ben Brown takes an excellent catch down by his shoelaces. 10-2.
Handscomb and Ali are the pair at bat now. Get them early or it could be a long afternoon.
Ali races to 20 off 20. We work hard to begin to tie them down and then Aaron Thomason and Will Beer go from the other end.
Handscomb is criminally dropped at point. I sigh. 43-2.
They really slip the leash. Head and Beer and Thomason fail to make a break through and, by the 24th over, they have moved to 110-3.
Beer finally gets Handscomb for 55 off 62 and, ooh boy, did we need that.
They need 147 at 5.8 an over now.
Head gets a battering off Ali – 6, dot, 4, dot, out. Gone for 53 and we’ve slowed him down, and it’s taken him 76 balls. 120-4.
This brings the Sams together: Robson and Menen.
Robinson comes back for his second spell. Menen sets off at pace but he gets beaten by the big man. Gone for 13. 143-5.
114 to get at 5.8
Head finishes a tortuous spell for Robson. He goes for 12 off 30 balls. If I was Middlesex coach I’d be apoplectic. 145-6.
James Harris and Dan Lincoln are going to need to be heroes here. 112 at 6.6 an over.
Thomason’s second spell goes well as he clean bowls Mr Lincoln. 169-7.
88 at 7.3.
Tim Murtagh might well fancy his chances here.
Meaker has a fantastic shout turned down against the Irishman. I run up and down the pavilion steps holding my head in my hands.
Next over, he survives a caught behind appeal from Thomason as well.
Harris and Murtagh do ok, but at 193-7 they need 64 at 9.1 an over.
We’d fold here. I hope they do too.
Murtagh survives another shout for lbw. This umpire was definitely paid in Euros.
But he can’t last forever. Meaker bowls, Murtagh edges it, and Jonty Jenner takes the catch. 201-8.
56 at 11.5.
Bamber lasts 3 balls before Meaker destroys his stumps. 213-9.
44 from 24 balls.
Cummins is the tail-ender who needs to guide them home.
In the end, Harris falls to Head. He chips it and Brown takes the edge. 213 all out.
We’ve only gone and won another one.
That’s two in a row mofos!
A Sussex win by 43 runs.
We’re now at the dizzying heights of 6th and level on point with Kent in third.
It’ll never last.
But I’m loving it all the same…