Cricket: Middlesex see off Surrey for latest success

Tom Helm (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

Tom Helm (pic Mike Egerton/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Middlesex picked up their third win out of four in the Royal London One-Day Cup with a 37-run victory over injury-hit Surrey at the Kia Oval.

A half-century on debut from Ross Taylor before a ninth-wicket stand of 66 between Toby Roland-Jones and Nathan Sowter lifted Middlesex to 277 and despite 71 by Ben Foakes, Surrey were bowled out for 240 with seamer Tom Helm and leg-spinner Sowter spearheading an excellent effort by Middlesex’s bowlers with four wickets apiece.

A third defeat in four South Group games have left Surrey struggling to reach the knockout stages although there were mitigating circumstances.

Their absentees included Jason Roy (back spasms), Rikki Clarke (dislocated finger), Tom Curran (calf), Ollie Pope (dislocated shoulder) and Sam Curran, who is still at the IPL.

Eoin Morgan was missing for Middlesex because of sore shins but will join up with the England squad in Cardiff this weekend for a pre-World Cup training camp.

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After winning the toss Middlesex slipped to 70-4 in the 13th over as Morne Morkel removed openers Paul Stirling (16) and Dawid Malan (19), Gareth Batty held a return catch to dismiss John Simpson (19) and Liam Plunkett struck in his first over when Steve Eskinazi (1) was caught at slip.

They were initially revived by a stand of 79 in 16 overs between Nick Gubbins and Taylor, the New Zealand batsman making his debut for his third different county.

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Taylor passed 50 for the 66th time in List A cricket and it needed a good ball from Plunkett to end the partnership when he went around the wicket and bowled Gubbins for 33.

Batty returned to the attack to dismiss George Scott (18) before claiming the key wicket of Taylor (64 off 78 balls), who was caught behind trying to cut a quicker ball from Surrey’s veteran off-spinner in the 36th over. When Helm fell three balls later Middlesex were in trouble but Roland-Jones and Sowter launched an impressive counter-attack. Roland-Jones was last out for 45 from 39 balls, which included two sixes, while Sowter contributed 31 off 34 deliveries. On a slow pitch, Batty was the pick of the attack with 4-29 but Surrey also lost early wickets as Mark Stoneman (7) was caught trying to upper-cut Helm over third man then Roland-Jones got enough late movement to beat Will Jacks’ drive for 18.

Thereafter, just when it looked as if Surrey had the chase under control they lost wickets.

Dean Elgar played fluently for 43, adding 77 with Rory Burns before drilling Sowter to mid-off. Off-spinner Stirling then returned to the attack to pin Burns 49 with a ball which went on with the arm.

Sowter struck again in the 36th over when he bowled Jamie Smith (17) and Helm had debutant Jordan Clark (1) caught behind off an inside edge in the next over when Surrey were still 100 short of their target.

All the time Foakes was in Surrey had hope but he was caught in the covers trying to hit over the top in the 47th over for 71 from 80 balls to give Helm his fourth wicket.

Taylor said: “The most important thing was the win. The tail scrapped away and we got the early wickets we needed and I thought we defended our score pretty well.

“The pitch was a little two-paced and the odd ball kept low but Toby Roland-Jones showed a bit of flair at the end it showed what was possible and helped get us to a decent score.

“I only had 26 days at home last year but I’ve had 26 since the end of the New Zealand season so it was nice to come into this stint with Middlesex and then the World Cup having had a break.

“I had a net yesterday but I felt pretty good out there and it was nice to get a score and more importantly help us win.”

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