Middlesex blown away by Afridi spell
PUBLISHED: 16:11 20 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 20 September 2020
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Shaheen Shah Afridi took four wickets in four balls as his five-wicket haul made sure Hampshire ended their horror Vitality Blast campaign with victory over Middlesex.
The Pakistan fast bowler demolished John Simpson, Stephen Finn, Thilan Walallawita and Tim Murtagh’s stumps in consecutive deliveries to blow away the visitors.
Having returned a disappointing 1-191 in his first six outings, he celebrated an incredible 6-19 – Hampshire best ever T20 bowling figures, and the county’s second format treble in their history.
It meant Hampshire ended a six-game losing spell to win by 22 runs, although couldn’t prevent them from finishing bottom of the group stage for the first time since 2007.
Hampshire needed quick wickets in their defence of 141 for nine, and Felix Organ continued the trend of ‘spin it to win it’ as he opened the bowling with his off-spin and had 20-year-old Jack Davies lbw.
Off spinner Organ had Joe Cracknell caught at point by Joe Weatherley in his second over – the 21-year-old bowling three overs in the powerplay for 2-13.
Overseas Afridi claimed his maiden Ageas Bowl wicket for the county when he yorked Steve Eskinazi – who ended the group stage as the tournament’s second leading scorer with 413 runs.
Ryan Stevenson bowled Nathan Sowter with a slower ball before Mason Crane continued the spin domination when Tom Alsop stumped Martin Andersson.
Simpson threatened a comeback for the visitors as the run-rate climbed, he added 25 with Luke Hollman before Afridi turned the latter’s off stump into a javelin.
Wicketkeeper Simpson (48) helped take 17 off Stevenson in the 16th over, thanks to two huge sixes, as Middlesex required 37 from the last four overs.
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But left-armer Afridi, who flies home tomorrow, took four wickets in four balls to provide an explosive end to a below-par season.
It was the second hat-trick taken by Hampshire this year, after James Fuller had taken a treble against Surrey in the Bob Willis Trophy.
Having chosen to bat, Hampshire ground through their innings, as partnerships struggled to flourish against an impressive spin performance on a slow pitch.
Middlesex’s spin triplets of Walallawita, Hollman and Nathan Sowter took 8-74 in their 12 combined overs to restrict Hampshire.
James Vince chopped veteran Tim Murtagh onto his own off-stump, before Alsop and Sam Northeast laid a solid foundation with a 32-run stand.
But that was as good as the batting got for the hosts as Walallawita, Sowter and Hollman constricted them.
Alsop (25) was bowled while attempting a slog sweep off leg spinner Hollman and top scorer Northeast (31) nicked Walallawita behind to John Simpson.
Joe Weatherley split the leg side boundary riders with a perfect sweep, before he was plumb lbw when he switched into a reverse.
From 55 for one after eight overs, Hampshire found their recognised batsmen all dismissed by the end of the 17th over on 114 for seven.
The spinners forced the batters to play to the long square boundaries as an impatient James Fuller and Felix Organ holed out to long on, while Ian Holland – following a six down the ground – was leg before attempting a huge slog sweep.
The latter two scalps falling to Walallawita on his T20 debut, having impressed with his left-arm spin during the Bob Willis Trophy earlier this summer.
Stevenson found a hat-trick of boundaries off Tom Helm but leggie Sowter returned to bowl him and Chris Wood – as Hampshire bobbed to 141 for nine in their 20 overs.
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