Hampshire Defeated By Middlesex In T20 Opener

Career-best knock from Liam Dawson not enough to prevent defeat at Uxbridge

Hampshire’s hopes of opening their NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a victory against Middlesex were dashed as they fell 69 runs short of the home side’s formidable 195-run total.

The visitors were unable to take advantage of a good batting pitch, after Shahid Afridi (2-27) had proved effective with the ball, and Gareth Andrew (2-19) helped reduced Middlesex to 195-6.

Hampshire batsmen Liam Dawson (46) and Adam Wheater (30) looked in good touch but, having expected to go toe-toe with Middlesex’s total, a flurry of 6 wickets for 22 runs effectively settled the contest.

Hampshire skipper Sean Ervine won the toss and elected to bowl first against Middlesex at Uxbridge.

The home side progressed quickly with the bat on a well-suited pitch, David Malan (20) and Paul Stirling (14) scoring at an alarming rate against the bowling of Tino Best in the second over.

Ryan McLaren (1-24) supplied the first Hampshire wicket in the third over, as Paul Stirling (14) elaborately attempted to glance down past third man, caught by Gareth Andrew to leave Middlesex on 34/1.

Andrew then immediately supplied the second wicket for the visitors, Will Smith catching Nick Gubbins (0) first ball to quell Middlesex’s furious start to the game.

After an excellent sixth over delivered by Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi – giving only four away – Middlesex were at 53-2; a significant reduction to the early strike rate.  

Afridi was proving extremely effective with the ball, but Malan (42*) was key for Middlesex, driving down the wicket and picking gaps in the field calmly.

Liam Dawson ended a 59-run partnership between Malan and Adam Voges, who top-edged his sweep and provided a simple catch for Hampshire wicket-keeper Adam Wheater – Middlesex 98/3 in the 11th over.

Gareth Andrew eventually removed Middlesex skipper Malan, who scored 93 runs off 48 balls before slicing behind to Tino Best.

Afridi then took two wickets in quick succession, superbly catching and bowling Simpson (15) before Adam Wheater smartly stumped Ryan Higgins (3), not allowing him to get going at the crease – the home side reduced to 159/6 in the 15th over.

James Franklin (22) and Toby Roland-Jones (14) pushed Middlesex onto a formidable total of 195-6, setting Hampshire 196 runs to win.

At the start of Hampshire’s innings, Jimmy Adams (11) was removed by an incredible catch by substitute fielder Nathan Sowter at deep third man from James Fuller – an exhibition of Twenty20’s excitement.

Hants Batsmen Adam Wheater and Michael Carberry took advantage of some short bowling from Harry Podmore, hitting 19 off the Middlesex bowler’s first over to take Hampshire to 48/1.

However, Hampshire lost two wickets in two balls to Toby Roland-Jones – Ervine and Wheater – and Middlesex began to dominate the game, taking six wickets for 22 runs.

Carberry’s mistimed pull was comfortably collected by Middlesex wicket-keeper Simpson from Podmore, before Afridi (8) was run out to leave Hampshire o68-5.

Patel added two further setbacks to Hampshire’s hopes of opening their Twenty20 campaign with a victory, and found himself on a hat-trick in the 10th over - some fine spin bowling defeated Ryan McLaren and Will Smith edged behind to leave Hampshire on 77-6.    

With the contest looking all but settled, Dawson produced a resilient knock of 46 to keep Hampshire’s hopes alive, however it was too little too late as Middlesex sealed a 69-run victory when Tino Best was the final wicket to fall.