Middlesex made to suffer again in Vitality Blast by Surrey
- Credit: PA
Jamie Overton blasted three late sixes and Ollie Pope finished on a high-class 52 not out from 35 balls as Surrey reignited their Vitality Blast campaign with a five-wicket victory against the South Group’s bottom team Middlesex at the Kia Oval.
Overton’s violent unbeaten 24 from 10 balls turned the game after Surrey, who had looked to be failing a trial by spin in reply to Middlesex’s 174-7, got home with an over to spare to put two consecutive defeats behind them. Middlesex have now lost six of their seven group games.
Leg spinners Luke Hollman, Nathan Sowter and Nick Gubbins shared five wickets as Surrey seemed to be fluffing their lines after being given a flying start through Will Jacks’ 26-ball 47.
And it was part-timer Gubbins who began Surrey’s slide. Brought on for the eighth over, with Surrey 73 without loss, he saw Jacks pull a short ball to deep mid wicket to claim his first T20 scalp and finished with 1-22 from his four overs.
Sowter removed Jamie Smith for 27, and Hollman then had Laurie Evans stumped for four and bowled Rory Burns, aiming a reverse sweep, for 12. When Hollman took a superb sprawling catch at long off, to send back Jordan Clark for two off Sowter, it left Surrey 115-5 with just 33 balls remaining.
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But Overton and Pope were more than equal to the crisis. Overton launched Hollman for two sixes in the 17th over, Pope also swinging a six as 22 runs were plundered from it.
Then, with 19 needed from two overs, Overton swung Tom Helm for another six off the first ball, with Pope following up with brilliant fours reverse-scooped and straight driven.
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Middlesex’s total was built around a fine third wicket stand of 106 in 12 overs – a county record against Surrey – between Stevie Eskinazi, who added 64 to his century against Essex 24 hours earlier, and Daryl Mitchell, whose 36-ball 58 featured three sixes and five fours.
A double wicket maiden by Jacks rocked Middlesex after Eskinazi had pulled the last ball of Kyle Jamieson’s opening over for six.
Jacks’ off spin first accounted for Joe Cracknell, caught at the wicket toe-ending an attempted sweep straight up into the air, and two balls later Gubbins mishit to mid off to go for a duck.
But, from 10-2, Middlesex fought back strongly through Eskinazi and Mitchell, with the New Zealander first to complete his fifty with a driven six off Dan Moriarty.
Mitchell had earlier pulled the same bowler for his first six and also on drove Gareth Batty high over the ropes before he hit Batty high to long on in the 14th over, mis-timing the strike.
Gus Atkinson impressed with the ball at the death, ending with 4-36, although he was initially perhaps fortunate to have John Simpson caught down the legside for one.
Eskinazi’s spirited 51-ball effort was ended by a smear across the line at Atkinson, who later in the same over held on to Hollman’s skier after the young all-rounder had contributed a useful 19.
Atkinson was then given the final over ahead of Jamieson, and Sowter was caught at mid off for seven after he and Chris Green (15 not out) had found a couple of legside boundaries.
Finn reflected on Blast defeats to Essex and Surrey on successive nights and said: “Yesterday we gave a better account of ourselves but both powerplays, with the bat and with the ball, cost us in the end.
"We did well to drag ourselves up to a competitive total but credit to the way Pope and Overton finished it off at the end. Nick Gubbins has been working very hard on his leg spin and he was very effective here in the conditions and bowled very well.”