Middlesex made to pay by Hampshire
- Credit: PA
Keith Barker hit two personal landmarks to set up Hampshire’s seven-wicket victory against Middlesex in their rain-affected LV= Insurance County Championship game at Lord’s.
Barker blazed an impressive 84 – his highest score for the county – to secure a valuable lead of 36 as they stretched their first-innings total to 208.
The 34-year-old also bagged his 50th red-ball wicket in Hampshire colours as the home side crumbled to 101 all out inside 30 overs, with Kyle Abbott claiming another five-for to take his match tally to 11 for 85.
That left Hampshire chasing a modest target of 66 and, although rain intervened, they had just enough time to scramble home.
Resuming on 131 for seven, a first-innings advantage had looked an optimistic target for the visitors – particularly when Middlesex seamer Blake Cullen gained reward for his consistent bowling by taking out Abbott’s off stump.
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That wicket prompted Barker to unleash a flurry of leg-side boundaries, including successive fours off Tim Murtagh to bring up his half-century and edge Hampshire ahead.
Although Murtagh removed Brad Wheal, caught behind, he received further punishment from Barker, who clattered him into the Mound Stand for two robust sixes in taking 18 off one over.
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Barker thrashed James Harris for another six to secure a batting bonus point before he was last out later in the same over, courtesy of Peter Handscomb’s acrobatic catch at mid-on.
But wickets began to fall with greater frequency when Middlesex batted again after lunch, with Abbott and Mohammad Abbas swiftly sending their top five back to the pavilion.
Handscomb was the only one among those to reach double figures, striking Abbott cleanly through the covers for consecutive boundaries in a 12-ball knock of 24 before the seamer pinned him lbw with one that kept low.
At 67 for seven, Middlesex looked in danger of failing to exceed their paltry total of 79 at the Ageas Bowl last month, but Harris and Cullen displayed a degree of defiance with their stand of 28.
Abbott eventually wrapped up the innings after a 45-minute rain delay, trapping Harris and Ethan Bamber lbw to finish with five for 41.
It looked as if Hampshire might be thwarted by a further downpour, eight overs into their chase – but the batsmen returned for an extra half-hour and, despite losing three wickets, that was sufficient for Sam Northeast and Tom Alsop to see them over the line.