Sunday, 10th September 2006

Injury hit Middlesex lose last over thriller


Vs: Sussex

Match: 40L 1

Venue: Lord's

Day 1

Middlesex are in grave danger of a double relegation blow following their narrow four wicket defeat by Sussex in the NatWest Pro40 League at Lord’s. For good measure they also picked up another couple of new injuries to add to the already lengthy injury list. Scott Styris came back into the side but only to play as a batsman.

Sussex won the toss and asked Middlesex to bat first on a glorious autumn day. Paul Weekes opened the batting on his last appearance at Lord’s, but his lost his off stump to the second ball of the match when he was bowled by Lewry for a duck. Owais Shah was LBW to Kirtley in the second over for two to leave Middlesex struggling on 8-2.

Scott Styris eventually joined Smith at the wicket after a delay of some 3 minutes and he was very lucky that the Sussex fielders did not make an appeal to have him ‘timed out’. As it turned out, he did not last long as when he had made nine runs, he aggravated his back injury responding to a call from Ed Smith for a sharp single and had to retire not out.

The injury jinx struck again two overs later when Eoin Morgan was forced to retire hurt with a pulled leg muscle when he had made five. Middlesex were thus 41-2 after 11 overs with two batsmen retired hurt.

Skipper Ben Hutton gave Ed Smith excellent support adding 95 runs together in 19 overs before Hutton was bowled by Mushtaq Ahmed for 40 (off 58 balls). Hutton stayed on the field to act as a runner for Morgan who resumed his innings. Ed Smith took four boundaries off two overs from Lewry when he returned to the attack before he lofted a ball to the deep mid-wicket boundary and was caught for a superb 87 (off 108 balls, 13 fours). Smith and Hutton were the only batsmen to reach double figures.

From 161-4, wickets tumbled with the overs running out and Middlesex were all out for 185 with Styris unable to resume his innings.

Middlesex took to the field with two substitute fielders, Chris Whelan and Nick Compton, on for Styris and Morgan. They were later to be joined by David Nash who came on after 27 overs when Chris Wright limped off the field.

Johann Louw bowled the dangerous Matt Prior when he had made just twelve and when Chris Silverwood had Montgomerie caught at slip, Sussex were 26-2 after seven overs. Thereafter Murray Goodwin batted superbly despite losing the relatively inexperienced Nash and Heather cheaply.

The Middlesex spinners Chris Peploe and Paul Weekes had slowed the scoring rate down (Peploe 1-26 off his eight overs) but the crucial partnership between Goodwin and Hopkinson added 48 runs before Hopkinson was caught in the deep off Ben Hutton with 44 runs required off a further 35 balls.

Goodwin struck three successive boundaries off Silverwood’s come back over before, with just three runs required for victory, he was bowled for 92 (off 112 balls, 6 fours) by Louw. Yasir Arafat struck the first ball he faced past the bowler for the winning boundary with just three balls to spare.

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