Middlesex slide to first defeat of the season against Gloucestershire
- Credit: Matt Bright
Middlesex’s Twenty20 hoodoo against Gloucestershire continued as they went down to their first defeat of the season at Old Merchant Taylor’s School.
The West Country side had never lost a T20 fixture to Middlesex in eight previous meetings – and they extended that to nine, completing a four-wicket victory off the penultimate delivery.
Half-centuries from Paul Stirling and Adam Voges helped Middlesex to a solid score of 159-9 after they had won the toss, but it was not enough as Gloucestershire scrambled home at 163-6.
Middlesex’s star signing Brendon McCullum lasted just five balls on his debut, pulling the fourth for six and then mistiming the next one into the hands of bowler Graeme van Buuren.
Skipper Dawid Malan (2) sliced to backward point in the next over, but Stirling and Morgan (13) repaired the damage with a stand of 43 before the England captain holed out to long-off.
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However, Voges joined Stirling at the crease and the pair shared a fourth-wicket stand of 61, with the latter unfurling a variety of shots all around the wicket as he progressed to 60 from 43 deliveries.
Stirling eventually departed in the 16th over, skying Benny Howell (2-23) into the wicketkeeper’s hands, and was soon followed by John Simpson (2) and James Franklin (0) as Middlesex slumped to 129-6.
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But some late blows from Toby Roland-Jones (17) – aided by a drop from Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger – enabled Middlesex to post 159-9, with Voges unbeaten on 52.
Roland-Jones (2-28) made early inroads with the ball, clean bowling Klinger for a duck and having Hamish Marshall caught at point to leave the visitors on 16-2.
But third-wicket pair Ian Cockbain and Chris Dent settled into a groove, finding the gaps and hitting sufficient boundaries to keep their side on track with a partnership of 65.
Cockbain finally perished for 40, heaving James Franklin (1-26) to long-on, while Dent made his way to 45 before he fell victim to a stumping off Stirling at 120-4.
But Howell (37) kept Gloucestershire on track and, although he gave Ravi Patel (1-34) a return catch with 21 still required, Gareth Roderick (11no) hit Harry Podmore for six to seal the visitors’ victory.