Blast From The Past: Essex v Middlesex


This is the sixth part of a series, with a look back at a memorable game from the past against each of Essex’s 2024 home Vitality Blast opponents. This next instalment looks back to a nail-biting comeback victory over Middlesex from a decade ago.

Essex (157-8) beat Middlesex (153-5) by two wickets
Chelmsford County Ground, 20 June 2014

Scorecard: View Here

The job of the finisher in a white-ball line-up has grown in importance over the past few years, with recent IPL auctions showing that teams are prepared to pay top dollar for a specialist in the role.

Many would credit Michael Bevan with defining the idea of finishing matches, and Shahid Afridi, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell with refining it since.

However, on one night in Chelmsford in June 2014, Tim Phillips delivered a masterclass in the art, hauling Essex to the unlikeliest of wins over Middlesex by blasting 33 off 13 from number eight.

It helped the Eagles overhaul a target of 154, set after Eoin Morgan had struck a 46-ball 69 for the visitors, with just two balls to spare and maintain a charge for the knockouts.

Having opted to field first after winning the toss, the initial stages were rather tit-for-tat, as despite Phillips removing Joe Denly to a caught and bowled, Middlesex reached 67-1 after eight overs.

Wickets in back-to-back overs from Tymal Mills and Reece Topley removed dangerous pair Dawid Malan and Dan Christian, respectively, though Morgan remained an ominous presence.

The Panthers posted three figures with six overs to go despite Ravi Bopara and David Masters keeping things tight in the middle overs, claiming combined figures of 1/46 from seven overs.

Even with the brakes on, England international Morgan was unbeaten throughout, and he reached his half-century in 38 balls before freeing his arms to hit four of his next seven balls to the fence.

The defining moment, though, came when he was run out in a mix-up with Neil Dexter, falling short at the striker’s end after coming back for an improbable second.

It took the wind out of Middlesex’s sails, and the visitors managed just one more boundary in the 25 balls that remained of their innings as Mills and Topley ended with identical returns of 1/31 each.

In reply, Mark Pettini made a confident start from the top, overcoming the early loss of opening partner Jesse Ryder to guide Essex to 43-1 after the powerplay, of which he had amassed 30.

He became a little more watchful up to the halfway point, fulfilling the anchor role as the Eagles moved to 69-3 at halfway, though the game swung into the balance when he fell to Dexter for 42.

Ben Foakes and Ryan ten Doeschate grafted away to keep the scoreboard ticking over, adding 31 to bring up the team hundred in the 15th over before the former was caught by Malan off Christian.

At the end of that over, Essex required 49 off 30 balls, but once James Foster had been caught and bowled by Gurjit Sandhu for nine, that became a trickier 41 off 23 with four wickets in hand.

Yet, Essex had a wildcard up their sleeves; enter Phillips. Initially watchful, he took a solitary run from his first three balls before being put back on strike for the final ball of Sandhu’s over.

That was promptly dispatched for a maximum, and after he repeated the trick off the final ball of the next over, bowled by James Harris, there was a sense that the tide was turning.

Rapidly, it was becoming the case the only danger to Essex’s chances of successfully overhauling the target was Phillips running out of partners.

However, even Ryan ten Doeschate falling for 34 in the penultimate over did not take anything away from Phillips, and when he struck the first ball of the final over for six, Essex needed just seven more.

Tymal Mills being run out by John Simpson off a wide ball at the bowler’s end provided even more drama, but the Phillips show just kept going.

Facing down Sandhu with five needed off four balls, he first sprinted two, before winning the match in style and lifting the proverbial roof off Chelmsford with another six.

He embraced Masters in joy and Sandhu looked on in despair as the Eagles confirmed another win on their way to finishing atop the South Group with a memorable ten wins in 14 games.

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, 2023 T20 finalists Essex will kick off their 2024 campaign with a home tie against Middlesex on Sunday 02 June.

With demand running high across the board, there’s no time to waste to secure the best seats as the Eagles get their Blast season underway with the aim of going one better in 2024.

Click below to buy your Middlesex general admission tickets now: