England star leads Middlesex to rare Twenty20 victory against Essex
Steven Finn picked up four wickets as Middlesex finally ended their record losing streak in the NatWest T20 Blast by overcoming Essex Eagles at Richmond.
The England seamer returned figures of 4-28 as Essex were dismissed for just 109 – only the second time in this year’s tournament that the Lord’s side have bowled out their opponents inside the allotted 20 overs.
And Middlesex finally halted a wretched sequence of seven straight T20 defeats – their worst ever run in the competition – by knocking off the runs with just four wickets down and three overs to spare.
The Eagles, who won the toss and decided to bat first, were on the back foot straight away as Mark Pettini (5) edged Finn behind and Jesse Ryder (3) miscued a sweep to give John Simpson his second catch.
Tom Westley (12) hit Finn for two fours through the leg side, but he fell to a stunning catch at cover by Dawid Malan, while Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate made just a single before Finn trapped him leg before.
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That left Essex on 31-4 at end of the powerplay and, although Ravi Bopara threatened to get his side back into the game with 15 at a run a ball, he became Finn’s fourth victim when he holed out to Nick Gubbins on the boundary.
Gubbins took his second catch, a sliding effort at long-off, to remove Liam Dawson (22) and break his sixth-wicket partnership of 51 with James Foster.
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Foster (33) was bowled in the next over by Ollie Rayner and James Franklin (3-12) cleaned up the tail as the Eagles were blown away in 18 overs.
Gubbins (22) and Malan (19) both played positively at the start of the Middlesex reply, putting on 47 before both fell to Bopara in the space of four balls.
That slowed the home side’s scoring rate and they slid to 62-3 when Simpson (14) took a swing at Graham Napier and skied to point, but a stand of 36 between skipper Eoin Morgan and debutant George Scott steadied the ship.
Scott (20) seemed to be finding his rhythm when he holed out to deep square, but Morgan (21 not out) and Franklin (9no) dragged Middlesex over the line at the end of the 17th over.