Middlesex fall to defeat in low-scoring affair with Surrey
PUBLISHED: 09:19 06 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:19 06 September 2020
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Ben Foakes and Jamie Smith put together a high-quality unbroken 93-run stand as Surrey beat London rivals Middlesex by six wickets in an otherwise unexpectedly low-scoring affair at the Kia Oval to go second in the Vitality Blast’s south group.
Foakes made 60 not out and Smith an unbeaten 38 in a calm and assured fifth wicket partnership to steer Surrey past Middlesex’s 113 for 9 with an ultimately comfortable 11 balls to spare.
Earlier in the day Kent’s batsmen had pummeled 192 for 6 on the same pitch, in a victory against Essex which saw 355 runs scored, but under lights the second part of Sky Sports’ double-header was for long periods a totally different spectacle.
On a sluggish pitch taking spin, Middlesex struggled badly against Surrey’s trio of slow bowlers but, when Surrey replied, they were also soon 23 for 4 as paceman Steven Finn removed Will Jacks and Laurie Evans in his first two overs and leg spinner Nathan Sowter then sent back Hashim Amla and Rory Burns in a dramatic fifth over.
Foakes, however, hit eight fours in a 50-ball knock full of Test-class strokes on both sides of the wicket, and 20-year-old Smith was almost as good with four boundaries in his 35-ball effort. At halfway, Surrey still had a bit to do at 55 for 4 but Foakes and Smith were more than equal to the challenge in a controlled exhibition of batting under pressure.
Earlier Gareth Batty, Surrey’s 42-year-old captain, picked up 3 for 18 with his off spin, while Jacks took 2 for 16 and did not concede a single boundary in his four overs of off breaks.
Slow left-armer Dan Moriarty was wicketless but bowled tidily, as did left-arm seamer Reece Topley with 1 for 21, while 22-year-old fast bowler Gus Atkinson was also impressive with 2 for 18 from three overs.
Middlesex, after choosing to bat, got off to a poor start with Stephen Eskinazi bowled for 2 by one that turned from Jacks, trying to flail a ball through the off side in the second over.
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Martin Andersson, who straight drove Atkinson’s first ball beautifully for four, then drove all round the seamer’s second delivery and was bowled for 7 to leave Middlesex 15 for 2 in the fourth over
Only a wild first over by Jamie Overton, costing 14 and in which Max Holden carved a no ball full toss for four and also pulled fiercely to the boundary, helped Middlesex get to 39 for 2 by the end of the powerplay – but the innings then fell away badly as the Surrey spinners tightened the noose.
Left-hander Holden, having reached a run-a-ball 29, chopped on against Jacks and Batty’s introduction for the 11th over suddenly left Middlesex in real trouble at 63 for 5 as 20-year-old debutant Jack Davies mishit a reverse sweep to point to go for 16 and James Harris was leg-before for 2.
Worse was to follow in Batty’s second over when Dan Lincoln (4) pulled a short ball to deep mid wicket and from 75 for 6 Middlesex limped into three figures as catches in the deep, off Topley and Atkinson respectively, undid both John Simpson (11) and Luke Hollman (17) before Sowter was run out for 3 in the final over attempting a second run to Moriarty’s partial misfield at short fine leg.
Sowter’s evening did get better later when former South Africa star Amla chipped a return catch to him off a leading edge and Burns was leg-before for 0 two balls later, sweeping.
With Finn having hit Jacks a painful blow on the hand, which needed on-field treatment, prior to getting him caught at mid on for 4 off a skier, and then foxing Evans (1) with a slower ball, Surrey were suddenly up against it.
Foakes and Smith, though, showed that batting was still very possible even though Sowter finished with 2 for 16 and Finn 2 for 21.
Middlesex captain Steven Finn said: “If we had got twenty or more runs on the board it would have been interesting. I think we showed in the first ten overs that we could have put them under a lot of pressure.
“We were very competitive in those early overs, and overall we gave it a good shot. Ben Foakes and Jamie Smith both batted really well, and for our younger players it is another step on the learning curve.”
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