Middlesex must continue to wait
MIDDLESEX must wait another few days to learn whether they will end their season by bringing a trophy back to Lord's, writes Ben Kosky. The Panthers completed their Pro40 Division Two campaign with a comfortable victory...
MIDDLESEX must wait another few days to learn whether they will end their season by bringing a trophy back to Lord's, writes Ben Kosky.
The Panthers completed their Pro40 Division Two campaign with a comfortable victory over Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Saturday to regain top spot in the table.
But they need a helping hand from Lancashire Lightning to secure the trophy next Sunday - if Warwickshire Bears avoid defeat in their final game at Old Trafford, the title will go to the Midlands instead.
Whatever the outcome, Middlesex are certain to finish at least second after their 78-run success at Uxbridge, built on the back of what seems likely to be Tyron Henderson's farewell innings.
The all-rounder struck a breezy 55, sharing a second-wicket partnership of 68 with Dawid Malan (29) and adding a further 47 for the third with Neil Dexter (26).
Wicket-keeper John Simpson's knock of 32 then helped shepherd them past the 200 mark, with skipper Shaun Udal finishing unbeaten on 14 as Middlesex reached 220-8 in their 40 overs.
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Northamptonshire were never able to pick up much momentum in their reply, especially after a superb spell of 3-18 from Gareth Berg reduced them to 77-5.
Rob White (38) and David Willey (21) did their best to spark a recovery, but Udal and Murali Kartik collected two wickets apiece before Malan came on to end the Steelbacks' innings at 142 in the 37th over.
Middlesex also need results to go in their favour if they are to avoid finishing bottom of the County Championship for the first time - despite a heroic draw in their final match against Derbyshire at Uxbridge.
Wayne Madsen's 167 was the platform for Derbyshire's total of 401-5 declared, but Middlesex answered them in kind, with the in-form Nick Compton piling up a colossal 178 in their reply of 353-9.
Chris Rogers (112 not out) and Madsen (89) quickly rattled up 281-2 in the visitors' second innings, leaving Middlesex the best part of a day to chase 330 for victory.
That looked a possibility when Malan hit 52, but Greg Smith ripped through the middle order as five wickets fell for 14 runs and it fell to young Adam London to defy Derbyshire.
Despite batting with a broken finger, London compiled a gutsy knock of 65 and, with sterling support from Kartik (22) and Tim Murtagh (18not out), took his side to the brink of safety.
London eventually fell leg before to Smith with just under three overs left, but Murtagh remained calm to block out the remaining deliveries and clinch a draw at 259-9.