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Harris highlights positives of Middlesex performance in abandoned Lord’s clash with Gloucestershire

Middlesex Panthers' James Harris (centre) celebrates a wicket Middlesex Panthers' James Harris (centre) celebrates a wicket

Friday, June 27, 2014
7:15 AM

Seamer James Harris hailed Middlesex’s bowling display as ‘the perfect blueprint’ after bad weather denied them the chance of a rare Twenty20 win at Lord’s.

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The Panthers restricted visitors Gloucestershire to a meagre 105-6 in their South group tie at Lord’s on Thursday, but their hopes of recording only a second victory in this season’s competition were dashed by rain.

Middlesex had lost 10 of their previous 11 Twenty20 matches at Lord’s and remain bottom of the table, with their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages all but mathematically extinguished.

Harris, who returned figures of 2-22 from four overs, admitted: “It was a frustrating night all round and I reckon that’s summed up our Twenty20 campaign beautifully.

“But there were a lot of positives to take from the bowling and hopefully we can take those into the next game at Sussex. It was almost the perfect blueprint for how to bowl in a Twenty20 game.

“You get a couple of early wickets, try and get them three down or more in the powerplay, get a fourth quickly and then they’re massively on the back foot and can’t go too hard. I think we did that beautifully.

“When you talk about bowling plans in Twenty20, it’s a case of not giving them any easy balls to hit – make sure they have to hit your best balls and you get wickets because of it.

“We’ve put in a really good performance after losing the toss – to restrict any team to just over 100 in a Twenty20 game is a great effort. It wasn’t the easiest pitch to bat on but we felt it was definitely chaseable.”

Teenager Harry Podmore, who opened the attack with Harris, was the pick of the Panthers’ bowling, recording 3-13 from four overs in only his second senior appearance.

Gloucestershire openers Alex Gidman (0) and Chris Dent (3) both fell early on to Harris and the visitors were reeling at 16-3 when Hamish Marshall (2) played on to Podmore.

It took until the seventh over for Gloucestershire to manage a boundary through Ian Cockbain, who reached 20 before clipping Neil Dexter into the hands of Joe Denly at deep square leg.

Benny Howell (39) led the recovery, adding 51 for the fifth wicket with Will Gidman (24 not out) before he swung Podmore to long-on – having survived a similar catch due to a no-ball in the previous over from Harris.

But the heavens opened soon after the close of the visitors’ innings and the game was eventually abandoned at 8.45pm.

“Harry’s been in and around in the squad most of the summer so far – he was fantastic when he made his debut against Essex at Chelmsford and he bowled even better here,” added Harris.

“He deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s come in and handled himself – and he took a steepling catch off my bowling as well, which I was very happy with!”

Middlesex travel to Hove to face Sussex on Friday night (7pm) and are back at Lord’s on Sunday for the start of a County Championship game against Northamptonshire.

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