Middlesex blasted away by Surrey in Vitality T20 opener

Middlesex's Max Holden bats during the Vitality T20 match against Surrey at Lord's

Middlesex's Max Holden bats during the Vitality T20 match against Surrey at Lord's - Credit: PA

Will Jacks’ blistering half-century saw Surrey beat London rivals Middlesex by 54 runs at Lord’s in their first game of the 2021 Vitality Blast campaign.

Jacks sent the hosts’ bowling to all parts as he plundered 70 in 24 balls with five sixes and nine fours in Surrey’s total of 223-7.

Paul Stirling, fresh from international duty with Ireland hit a spirited 58 in reply, but Sam Curran claimed four for 29 as Middlesex could only muster 169-9.

Faced with a Middlesex new-ball pairing of Ethan Bamber and Blake Cullen with only one previous Blast appearance between them, Jacks wasted no time powering three boundaries from the former’s opening over.

Bamber’s next saw Jacks hit him for six behind square, before launching a second blow into the Grandstand.

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The 50-run stand with Jason Roy came up in the fourth over, Jacks celebrating by clubbing Cullen for a huge six.

The right-hander’s 50 came in just 15 balls with three sixes and eight fours and two more massive shots into the stands followed.

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A century looked a certainty only for a comedic mix-up to see him run out by Chris Green’s underarm throw.

Roy went on to make 45 before being bowled by Nathan Sowter but Middlesex compounded their misery when Cullen bowled two head-high no-balls which Tom Curran despatched for six. The youngster was immediately removed from the attack by the umpires.

Only Green (1-25) and Sowter 3-40) emerged from the carnage with credit.

Tasked with chasing a target of 224, the hosts were looking to Stirling for inspiration and he soon responded with a huge straight six off Matt Dunn.

Opening partner Stevie Eskinazi caught the mood taking three fours from one Sam Curran over as 50 came up in 26 balls.

Stirling despatched Jordan Clark into the Mound Stand before striking Dunn for successive maximums to reach his 50 in 22 balls.

But on 58 he suffered the same fate to befall Jacks earlier when he was run out by Tom Curran’s sharp return.

Curran was in the action again when his stunning one-handed catch off the bowling of Dan Moriarty saw the end of Eskinazi for 36.

As the required rate climbed Eoin Morgan struck successive sixes, but when he holed out in the deep for 32 Middlesex’s hopes of victory fizzled out.

Morgan said: “There are a lot more positives than people think to take out of tonight’s game.

“We fell 55 short chasing a huge total and in the context, it doesn’t look great, but everyone went out to play for the win. There was no playing for themselves, so I have to commend them for that.

“It was never going to be an easy game against a team with two very good international bowlers and when a domestic player like Will Jacks comes out and plays like that he changes the game.”

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