Match Report: Middlesex v Essex


Middlesex v Essex

Vitality Blast
Lord’s Cricket Ground


Team News:

Essex: Feroze Khushi, Robin Das, Michael Pepper, Paul Walter, Matt Critchley, Josh Rymell, Daniel Sams, Will Buttleman (wk), Simon Harmer (c), Shane Snater, Sam Cook.

Middlesex: Stephen Eskinazi (c), Joe Cracknell, Ryan Higgins, Max Holden, John Simpson (wk), Jack Davies, Luke Hollman, Joshua De Caires, Martin Andersson, Nathan Fernandes, Tom Helm.

Match Details:

Umpires: Chris Watts & Paul Pollard
Match Referee: Peter Such
Toss: Middlesex won and elected to bowl
Result: Essex won by 22 runs (DLS)

Scorecard: View Here

Match Highlights:

Match Reaction: Dan Sams

Match Report:

Three Essex players smashed their highest scores of this year’s Vitality Blast to strengthen the Eagles’ quarter-final prospects as they saw off Middlesex at Lord’s for a fifth consecutive victory.

Dan Lawrence opened the batting and struck 53 from 30 balls before Michael Pepper hit 64 from 34 and Daniel Sams weighed in with a savage 24-ball knock of 67.

That enabled the visitors to post 237 for six, overhauling the record Lord’s T20 total set by Kent Spitfires just two days earlier, and they were well on course to defend that when rain brought the game to a premature close.

Middlesex, who have now lost all 10 of their South Group fixtures, had reached 116 for two halfway through the 13th over – needing an unlikely 122 more from 45 deliveries.

Despite a slow start after losing the toss and being inserted, Essex were into their stride once Lawrence – who dominated the strike in the powerplay – had pummelled successive Tom Helm deliveries for four and six.

The 25-year-old was in ruthless mood, striking the ball powerfully and using his feet as he cracked spinner Nathan Fernandes into the pavilion en route to bringing up a half-century from 26 balls.

However, Feroze Khushi holed out off Martin Andersson and his opening partner followed suit, steering the same bowler into the hands of point – but Pepper eagerly accepted the baton, unfurling the sweep to dispatch Middlesex’s spinners time and again.

He punched Josh de Caires to the cover boundary to equal the scoring rate for Lawrence’s 50 and looked well-placed to convert that into a maiden T20 ton – only to become another Andersson victim when he speared to third man.

Paul Walter took advantage of the short boundary on the grandstand side, clearing it twice in his first three balls and Sams proved even more destructive, smashing eight sixes as the pair added 62 from 27 for the fifth wicket.

The Australian all-rounder butchered Middlesex’s bowling, taking 20 off four deliveries of the final over from Fernandes before departing to a return catch, but it looked as though the visitors already had more than enough in the bank.

Stephen Eskinazi plundered two sixes from Sam Cook’s opening over to get his side’s reply up and running, yet a barren stretch of 28 balls without a boundary left them well behind the required run-rate.

Sams uprooted the skipper’s leg stump for 28, but Ryan Higgins took a pugnacious approach by pulling Matt Critchley twice over the short boundary as he shared a second-wicket stand of 70 from 36 with Joe Cracknell.

Lawrence came on to break the partnership by having Higgins caught in the deep for 32, with Cracknell undefeated on 36 from 33 when rain halted play midway through the next over.