Match Report | Middlesex v Essex Eagles


Middlesex v Essex Eagles
Vitality Blast
Thursday 16 August
Lord’s, London

Middlesex Team | Paul Stirling, Dawid Malan (c), John Simpson (wk), Eoin Morgan, Stevie Eskinazi, James Franklin, George Scott, James Fuller, James Harris, Nathan Sowter, Steven Finn.

Essex Eagles Team |  Adam Wheater (wk), Varun Chopra, Paul Walter, Ryan ten Doeschate (c), Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopra, Ashar Zaidi, Simon Harmer, Matt Coles, Peter Siddle, Sam Cook.

Toss | Essex Eagles who elected to field

Umpires | Tim Robinson & Ben Debenham

Result | Essex Eagles win by 6 wickets

Match Report | The Eagles ended a wretched run of 10 matches without a win in the Vitality Blast when they beat Middlesex by 6 wickets with 4 balls to spare at Lord’s on Thursday night.

Dan Lawrence and Varun Chopra both hit half-centuries to put the Eagles on course for the win but the visitors needed to post their highest score of the season in the competition to clinch the points.

Replying to the Middlesex total of 210 for 3, Lawrence hit his highest T20 career score of 86 that included 4 sixes and 7 fours in a stay at the crease lasting 46 balls and became only the second Eagles batsman to pass fifty this season.

The other was the consistent and dependable Chopra who reached 51, his sixth half-century of the T20 campaign. The pair combined for a stand worth 105 in 10 overs after Adam Wheater and Paul Walter had departed cheaply. Chopra’s innings spanned 33 balls and contained seven boundaries, two of them sixes.

Lawrence mixed the conventional with the audacious and drove and carved impressively whilst Chopra was effective as he kept the scoring rate ticking along assisted by some sloppy Middlesex fielding.

The opener was eventually bowled with the total on 137 in the 14th over leaving Ravi Bopara to join Lawrence in a 47 runs partnership before Lawrence was finally bowled by Steven Finn when he stepped across his stumps intending to work the ball into the leg side.

Thirty three runs were needed from the final three overs but Bopara, who was dropped on 6 and 18, and Ashar Zaidi made light of the task and when the last over arrived, only 6 were required.

Zaidi found the boundary when facing the first delivery, the second was adjudged a wide to leave the scores level before a single brought the Eagles a long-awaited success. Bopara was 31 not out from 15 balls and Zaidi was unbeaten on 20 having faced just 8 balls, four of which he dispatched to the ropes, as the Eagles reached the winning post.

Paul Stirling and Eoin Morgan thumped their way to scores of 78 and 77 respectively as the Eagles attack felt the force of the bat-wielding duo as Middlesex posted 210 for 3.

There were 15 maximum blows during the home side’s onslaught including 8 by Morgan and 4 by Stirling. They were merciless in dealing with the visitors attack. Morgan cleared the ropes four times when facing Coles and three times in one over against Walter whilst Stirling collected a couple of sixes from both Sam Cook and Zaidi.

Stirling and Morgan posted 77 in 8 overs for the third wicket after the former and John Simpson had put on 66 for the second wicket to carry the score to 75 before Simpson gave a return catch to Simon Harmer.

Cook had earlier removed Dawid Malan for 8 but successes with the ball for the Eagles were few and far between.

Stirling eventually holed out to Harmer at long-off having faced 52 balls which also included 8 fours in his boundary tally whilst Morgan was unbeaten in his 39-ball onslaught.

At the halfway stage, Middlesex were 75 for 2 but then bat dominated ball particularly in the last five overs when 78 runs were added.