ROYAL LONDON CUP: Middlesex fall to Surrey by five wickets after under-par white-ball batting
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Tom Curran celebrated his latest England call-up by keeping alive Surrey’s Royal London One-Day Cup hopes at the expense of Middlesex at Lord’s.
While his younger sibling Sam enjoyed being part of an England Test win at Headingley, Curran was named in the national squad for the upcoming ODI series against Australia.
And the 23-year-old underlined his potential in the white-ball format with a match-winning 4-33 as the men from south of the river restricted the hosts to 234 all out – a target they made with some comfort thanks to Ben Foakes’ 86.
Alec Stewart’s men will still need to beat Glamorgan in the last round of games and rely on favours from elsewhere if they are to make the knockout stages.
For Middlesex those hopes are already over, a third successive defeat meaning their promising start to the competition ultimately came to nothing.
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Middlesex skipper Steven Finn opted to bat under cloudless skies at Lord’s, only to see Nick Gubbins bowled off the inside edge by Morne Morkel with only eight runs on the board.
Stevie Eskinazi played more freely than in previous games, hoisting a big six over mid-wicket, but departed in Rikki Clarke’s first over courtesy of a thin edge through to Foakes.
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Curran then took centre stage, striking twice in an over when first Eoin Morgan and then Hilton Cartwright gave Foakes two more victims behind the timbers, leaving Middlesex 78-4.
Paul Stirling raised his 50 amid the slump and found an ally in the shape of wicketkeeper John Simpson in a stand of 45, but the mini-revival was snuffed out when the latter drove Gareth Batty (1-33) into the hands of Clarke at backward point.
And hopes of a sizeable target all but vanished when Stirling (67) chipped Will Jacks to mid-off.
The fact the hosts saw out their overs was down to cameos from Nathan Sowter (29) and Tom Helm (30), the latter bowled by Curran off the final ball of the innings.
With a total short of par Middlesex needed early wickets and Finn obliged trapping England man Jason Roy LBW in the first over.
England discard Mark Stoneman and Jacks progressed with few alarms until an almighty mix-up saw the former comfortably run out.
And the incident seemed to be playing on Jacks’ mind when he sent an ugly swipe off Finn into the hands of James Franklin at mid-off seven balls later.
At 44-3 the game was in the balance, but Rory Burns and Foakes, who’d shared an unbeaten century partnership to beat Middlesex 12 months ago, pieced together a stand of 89 with increasing confidence.
Such was their control it was a surprise when Burns (40) was bowled by Ravi Patel attempting an ill-advised scoop, but with no scoreboard pressure Foakes and Ollie Pope (57 not out) produced a 98 stand.
And although Foakes perished with four needed, the visitors eased home with 11 balls to spare.