Magic Murtagh keeps Middlesex on course for last eight
MIDDLESEX are yet to find their feet in this season s County Championship, but their form in the one-day game is completely the opposite. Sunday s dramatic six-run victory over Kent at Lord s means they have started the Friends Provident Trophy with back-
MIDDLESEX are yet to find their feet in this season's County Championship, but their form in the one-day game is completely the opposite.
Sunday's dramatic six-run victory over Kent at Lord's means they have started the Friends Provident Trophy with back-to-back wins and top the South-East table after two games.
They were indebted to the steady nerves of Tim Murtagh for the win though, as he took three wickets in the last over to finish with 4-29 in a rain-affected clash with Kent.
The visitors began the final over needing 12 to reach their revised target of 173 in 33 overs, but Murtagh dismissed former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, and then Yasir Arafat and Simon Cook were both held in the deep by Eoin Morgan to secure a nailbiting win.
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That was not looking like the case earlier in the day when the Middlesex innings foundered after a couple of costly run outs.
Billy Godleman (43) was sent back by Andrew Strauss and failed to make his ground, and when Owais Shah was also run out for just two and Strauss (33) and Morgan (29) quickly followed, the hosts were struggling to get past the 150-mark.
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Rain saw their innings halted on 177-8 from 36.5 overs and, with the Duckworth-Lewis rule in force, Kent were eventually asked to score 173 from 33.
But early wickets from Vernon Philander, Steven Finn and Gareth Berg put Kent under immediate pressure and, despite a solid 53 from Martin van Jaarsveld, they were unable to get back with the required rate.
With teams playing each other home and away in the five-team group there is still plenty of room for manoeuvre, but Middlesex are already in a good position to qualify.
Their start to the LV County Championship has been far less impressive though, with last week's game with Glamorgan petering out to a draw at Lord's.
David Nash's 96 had helped Middlesex (308-6) to a slim first innings lead, although Murtagh was again the star of the show as his 7-95 restricted Glamorgan to 300 all out.
But after time was lost to rain on two of the first three days, there was little chance of a result on day four as Middlesex reached 292-6, Nash notching another half-century and Ed Joyce 86, before the captains shook hands and both sides went home with 10 points apiece.
Middlesex travel to Chelmsford to take on Essex in their next Division Two game starting next Wednesday (May 7) after a pair of Friends Provident Trophy matches with Surrey on Sunday (at Lord's) and against Sussex at Hove on Bank Holiday Monday.