Middlesex fight back to lead Twenty20
MIDDLESEX surged back to the top of the Twenty20 Cup South division table when they beat Kent at Uxbridge on Tuesday night to move within reach of the next round. The vital win, Middlesex s sixth victory from eight cup games, saw them leapfrog two points
MIDDLESEX surged back to the top of the Twenty20 Cup South division table when they beat Kent at Uxbridge on Tuesday night to move within reach of the next round.
The vital win, Middlesex's sixth victory from eight cup games, saw them leapfrog two points clear of Kent - who share second spot on 10 points with Essex and Hampshire.
The Lord's outfit thrust themselves to the forefront of the competition when they flew off the blocks to win their opening five matches, but then last week lost to Kent at Bekenham and Hampshire.
However, on Tuesday Middlesex showed their intent as Ed Joyce, standing in for the injured captain Ed Smith, won the toss and elected to bat.
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But Middlesex were in trouble early, losing 19-year-old Billy Godleman (1) caught at slip in the second over, followed by the in-form Andrew Strauss (9), who was caught soon after.
At 12-2, Middlesex looked to have it all to do but the arrival of Eion Morgan (62 off 43 balls) quickly put them in charge as he racked up a quickfire 50 off just 31 balls.
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Joyce (11) partnered Morgan in the early stages of his priceless contribution but the match was truly set alight when Dawid Malan (52no) stepped up to replace the captain.
The Middlesex tally soared as Malan and Morgan hit the Kent attack to all parts of the ground.
When Morgan was eventually caught, the depth in batting was evident when Tyron Henderson (22) seamlessly continued the momentum to ultimately allow Middlesex to reach 171-7 off the 20 overs.
In reply, the Kent openers Joe Denly (14) and Robert Key (49) began well, and at 78-1 from 10 overs the target looked in reach.
However, Shaun Udal soon dented Kent's ambitions when he took three successive wickets.
The former Hampshire all-rounder dismissed Key, van Jaarsveld and Yasir Arafat before Tyron Henderson stamped out the valiant Kent's late rally by taking the next three wickets to ensure victory.
Middlesex were due to play Sussex yesterday and Surrey tomorrow, the final games in the first round of the competition.