Promoted Khushi powers Essex Eagles past Middlesex in Vitality Blast
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Feroze Khushi brought his second XI form to Essex as he blazed a first Vitality Blast half-century to help his side to a 61-run victory over Middlesex.
Khushi averaged 91 in the second XI T20 competition with three scores over 70 and continued that run with a stylish 67 at the Cloud County Ground.
Paul Walter also racked up 58 as the Eagles made 186-6 before Matt Critchley took his Blast tally to 12 scalps with 3-22 and Sam Cook returned a magnificent 3-18 as Middlesex were bowled out for 125 to extend their losing run to five defeats.
Khushi was exceptional in his ball-striking, but he was given three helping hands.
John Simpson shelled a simple wicketkeeper catch before he had got off the mark and he was also dropped on 36 and 40.
In fact, Middlesex's general fielding display will have disappointed head coach Richard Johnson, with Michael Pepper also surviving.
Khushi eased into his work, with Adam Rossington, Pepper and Critchley all departing in the powerplay having been put in, but found boundaries thanks to his strong wrist work.
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Having reached a 33-ball fifty, he unleashed a pair of sixes into the Hayes Close End, one of which landed on the roof of one of the houses.
Two balls later, though, he holed out to the deep midwicket boundary, to end a 69-run stand with Walter. That came in a three-over spell which saw Essex score 45 runs, a key to their large total.
Walter kept things moving, bringing up his second T20 half-century in 31 balls, with partnerships of 38 and 27 with Tom Westley and Simon Harmer.
Martin Andersson picked up 3-42, including a wicked yorker to bowl Westley, as Essex set their opponents a target of 187.
Cook bowled Steve Eskinazi with the fourth ball of the reply before Max Holden followed an over later when Ben Allison found his outside edge.
Joe Cracknell and Simpson smashed five sixes between them but still could not match the required run rate.
Both departed attempting to up the ante, Simpson miscuing to extra cover and Cracknell bowled trying to sweep Critchley.
Luke Hollman and Jack Davies both reached the 20s before they both departed, the former attacking Westley before Critchley had Davies lbw and Chris Green stumped.
The home victory was confirmed when Cook returned to find Tom Helm edging to short third man and Andersson picked out a sprawling Harmer at long on and Thilan Walallawita was run out.