T20: Malan ton steers Middlesex past Surrey
- Credit: Nick Wood/TGS Photo
Captain Dawid Malan scored his third T20 hundred as Middlesex made it two wins out of two in the Vitality Blast South Group with a 37-run victory over Surrey at the Kia Oval on Tuesday night.
Malan's 117 off 57 balls was the cornerstone of Middlesex's 209-3 and when Tom Helm claimed the key wicket of Aaron Finch Surrey were up against it.
Ollie Pope made 47 but with Ben Foakes out with a side injury Surrey looked a batsman short. They finished on 172-9 and have lost both games so far.
A crowd of 23,708 had earlier given Malan a standing ovation after a magnificent innings which included seven sixes and 11 fours.
With Steve Eskinazi he put on 55 in the power-play and they had plundered 131 from 11 after taking 22 off veteran off-spinner Gareth Batty.
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Batty wasn't the only bowler to suffer. In his first game since helping England win the World Cup, Liam Plunkett's two overs cost 24 while Imran Tahir conceded 40 runs in his spell, although he did have the consolation of removing former South Africa team-mate AB de Villiers for just three.
Tom Curran made a much-needed breakthrough in the 12th over when he bowled Eskinazi (42) round his legs and Tahir struck in the next over with de Villiers was leg before trying to reverse sweep.
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Surrey dragged things back in the next six overs when they only conceded 38 runs, but Middlesex produced a big finish with 23 coming off the 19th from Jade Dernbach.
Curran, who was the pick of the Surrey attack with 2-29, picked up Malan in the final over off a top-edged a pull while Scott provided added impetus at the end with 35 off 24 balls.
Middlesex took control by sending back both openers with 21 on the board as Will Jacks drove to mid-wicket in the first over from Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Helm had Finch superbly caught by John Simpson diving to his left off an inside edge for nine.
Pope looked in superb form despite playing just two second XI T20s on Monday as preparation after three months recovering from surgery to his left shoulder.
The 21-year-old hit a fluent 47 off 31 balls with four boundaries and two sixes before he was caught on the mid-wicket fence - one of four wickets for Toby Roland-Jones who also ended Curran's cameo of 31 from 17.
Middlesex's only concern was the sight of de Villiers going off after injuring a hand trying to take a diving catch.
Malan said: "We have worked hard on areas where we have struggled in the past like the power-play and we are putting things into place. There is still a long way to go and there are always ways we can improve but we are pleased with how things have gone so far.
"It was one of those days for me, when every time I hit the ball it seemed to go over a fielder. It worked for me and I managed to change a game and as a top-order batsman that is what you want to do.
"AB De Villiers split a nail but he's okay, he could have come back out to field, but he stayed off as a precaution."