Surrey make it four wins in a row to move top of the Vitality Blast South Group
Middlesex vs Surrey
Vitality Blast South Group
Surrey 218-5 (20) Middlesex 188-5 (20)
Surrey won by 30 runs
Peter Moore at Lords
Surrey moved to the top of the BlastT20 South Group after completing a 30 run victory over London Rivals Middlesex at Lords.
The visitors were indebted to Hashim Amla and Will Jacks who shared an opening century partnership as Surrey took a big step towards the knock out stages of the Vitality Blast after making it four wins in a row.
Middlesex won the toss and elected to field first on a glorious September evening. The hosts gave a Vitality Blast debut to 20-year-old batsman Joe Cracknell in a game that they really had to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the quarter finals.
Surrey openers Hashim Amla and Will Jacks got the visitors of to a blistering start with 41 added in the opening four overs. Amla was the more aggressive of the two early on and quickly moved to 30 off 19 balls. Jacks soon caught up with his partner by hitting a maximum off Tim Murtagh and a forehand smash that produced a six over the deep square leg fence off Tom Helm.
The powerplay had yielded fifty nine runs when Nathan Sowter was introduced into the attack. The leg spinner was carved through backward point for a boundary from Amla as the visitors continued to prosper.
It was Jacks who was first to his fifty by lifting Luke Hollman over his head for a maximum. After a couple of overs from the leg spinners Hollman and Sowter, Steve Finn called back the experienced Murtagh who got the initial breakthrough when Jacks(55) perished in the deep with Surrey 101-1 in the 11th over.
Amla moved onto his half century by hitting Hollman over extra cover for a maximum. Amla deposited another six into the stands before Sowter bowled the South African for 67.
With five overs left Martin Andersson was introduced into the attack and went for 21- including 15 off the bat of Rory Burns.
Some late order hitting from Burns and Laurie Evans added 34 off 12 balls before Burns cameo innings of 25 off 10 deliveries ended when he picked out Finn.
Evans bright and breezy knock of 26 was ended when he perished in the deep, but Surrey still managed to post an imposing 218 for 5- including 119 of the last ten overs- thanks to a wonderful knock from Jamie Overton who smashed 29 off 12 balls.
In pursuit of 219 to win the opening partnership of Max Holden and Stevie Eskinazi were hoping to get the hosts of to a flying start. Holden smashed Gus Atkinson’s first delivery over midwicket for a maximum but the youngster got swift revenge when Holden(14) picked out long on.
On debut Cracknell made his way to the middle on his Blast T20 debut. He seemed undeterred after hitting his fifth ball received for four over long on and next ball depositing a six over midwicket off Jamie Overton.
Skipper Gareth Batty switched his bowlers around by using five in the opening seven overs. It was the captain who struck with his fifth delivery when he bowled Cracknell(28) to end a promising knock from the youngster.
At the half way point Middlesex found themselves on 86-2, with the required run rate over 13.
Eskinazi went on to reach his half century with a six, which just evaded the outstretched hands of deep midwicket. John Simpson took up the mantle with successive six’s off Batty, but the task was still getting harder.
With the rate nudging up to 14 per over, it was down to Eskinazi and Simpson to get Middlesex close to their target. The stand between the pair had reached 65 when Simpson(31) top edged to Jamie Smith.
Despite another half century in the Blast-his fourth this season- Eskinazi’s superb knock of 77 was ended when Overton fielding of his own bowling threw down the stumps and with it went Middlesex’s faint hopes of victory.