Vitality Blast: Middlesex put to sword by Cockbain
- Credit: Nick Wood/TGS Photo
Middlesex were put to the sword in a one-sided Vitality Blast game at Bristol as Ian Cockbain hit his maiden T20 century and the second highest score every by a Gloucestershire batsman in the competition.
The 31-year-old Merseysider smashed 123 off 61 balls, including 96 in boundaries, to help his side reach 242-4, their best ever T20 total at Bristol, and secure a 70-run victory.
Michael Klinger (44), Kieran Noema-Barnett (31) and Jack Taylor (27 not out) gave valuable support. But it was all about Cockbain, who went in with the total 7-1 in the second over and holed out to long-on off the final ball of the innings.
In reply, Middlesex could manage only 172-6 as their miserable Vitality Blast campaign continued. Stevie Eskinazi top scored with 51, while medium-pacer Noema-Barnett claimed 3-18 from four overs, his best T20 figures.
The game had started well for the visitors after they won the toss, with Miles Hammond falling to Tom Barber for only five, miscuing to extra cover.
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But that was as good as it got for the Middlesex bowlers, who lacked the guile and variation to break a stand of 99 in 11 overs between Klinger and Cockbain before the Gloucestershire captain was caught at backward point off Ravi Patel. The left-arm spinner escaped the carnage, conceding only 18 from his three overs.
There was too much short and wide stuff from the visiting attack and Cockbain was in just the mood to capitalise, reaching fifty off 29 balls, with seven fours and two sixes.
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Six more maximums followed in a brilliant display of clean hitting without giving a chance as Cockbain moved past his previous highest T20 score of 91 not out and then to three figures off 53 deliveries.
Noema-Barnett, with four sixes, and Taylor joined in the fun with some savage striking of their own as former Gloucestershire players James Fuller and James Franklin conceded 58 and 53 respectively from their four overs, while Barber went for 62.
By the time Cockbain perished he had extended his boundary count to 12 fours and eight sixes. Only Klinger, with 126 not out against Essex on the same ground in 2015, has posted a bigger score in T20 cricket for Gloucestershire, whose only bigger total was the 254-3 they made, also against Middlesex, at Uxbridge in 2011.
The current Middlesex side lost three wickets in the power-play, those of Paul Stirling (21), Dawid Malan (15) and pinch-hitter Fuller (22) in moving to 61.
Eskinazi then joined Eoin Morgan (36) in a stand of 86 in 10 overs and there was drama at the end of the 11th over when Graeme van Buuren, on as a substitute fielder for Klinger, lay motionless after diving to prevent an Eskinazi boundary and a stretcher was summoned as he was helped over the rope.
Eskinazi reached fifty off 29 balls, with three fours and two sixes, but when he and Morgan both fell in the 16th over, bowled by Noema-Barnett, any lingering doubt about the outcome was erased.