The Middlesex Crusaders reached their first Twenty20 Finals Day thanks to Dawid Malan who scored a maiden Twenty20 century to rescue the Crusaders who had slumped to 21-4.
The 20 year old came into bat in the fifth over with the Crusaders in all sorts of troubled and lead the “home” side to a total which the Lancashire Lighting were unable to chase down ending 12 runs a drift.
Despite the heroics of Andrew Flintoff who scored 53 runs the Lightning who were aiming to reach their fourth Finals day in six years never really got going and fell into the same slump as the Crusaders and by the 4th over they were aleardy 14-3.
Once Flintoff was dismissed the Crusaders restricted the Lightning and the run rate slowly moved out of their reach.
The Crusaders won the toss and elected to bat and they soon were to regret the decision slumping to just 2-2 after just two overs. Owais Shah was the first to go spooning a catch to Dominc Cork at mid off. Billy Godleman soon followed Shah back into the dugout cashing a wide ball which was taking by Andrew Flintoff at first slip.
With only two runs on the board the pressure was on Crusaders Captian Ed Joyce and he responded brilliantly hitting two boundary’s of the bowling of Chapple before being controversially caught behind by Gareth Cross to give Cork his second wicket of the game.
Joyce was given out gloving the ball behind but TV replays showed, although not conclusively, that the ball maybe came of Joyce’s elbow before being caught. Joyce walk off exchanging words with Cork and ha can expect disaplinery action from the ECB after gesturing to umpire Illingworth pointing to his elbow.
The Crusaders were in further trouble when Ben Scott fell for 1, Francois du Plessis took an amazing catch at point plucking the ball out the air one handed diving to his left.
Morgan and Malan steadied the ship for the Crusaders putting on a partnership of 80 runs before Morgan attempted one two many reverse sweeps allowing Croft to removed his middle stump, the highlight of partnership was Malan smashing 3 sixes of Du Plessis in the 11th over. Malan’s 50 came of just 29 balls and included 4 fours and 3 sixes.
Malan was joined at the wicket by Tyrone Henderson and the pair continued their blitz of the Lightning bowlers. Malan brought up his century with a single before being dismissed for 103 by Andrew Flintoff, Freddy then removed Shaun Udal firt ball but by then Malan had doen the damage and the Crusaders could start planning their day at the Rose Bowl.