Middlesex v Surrey

Something’s we take for granted, trains are late, hospitals are full, an English summer doesn’t necessary mean sun, night follows day but the biggest banker of all still exists, Surrey still haven’t lost a Twenty20 group match.

The latest challengers to the Lions supremacy were their city rivals from across the river, the Middlesex Crusaders. They did battle once more in front of a full house at Lords and just like last year fans entering the ground were greeted by that rare bred, a ticket tout at a County game.

Tickets for this game had sold out weeks ago and demand was high enough for internet entrepreneurs to sell their tickets for three or four times the face value on everybody’s favourite capitalist website, eBay.

A second successive sell out in St Johns Wood has highlighted one strength of Twenty20 cricket, the game. Unlike elsewhere in the Country Twenty20 cricket is a bit more dignified at Lords, the customary hot tub or covetable car at pitch side are missing and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bouncy castle behind the Pavilion.

Fresh from last nights easy win at Beckham against the Kent Spitfires the Surrey Lions won the toss and decided to bat on a dry sunny night in the Capital. Alistair Brown and James Benning opened the batting for the Lions looking to set an imposing total for the Crusaders to chase.

In terms of Twenty20 big hitting Surreys start was controlled and calculated with Bening hitting the only four in the first three overs, their masterful start was hampered with the score on 21 when Bening gave Paul Weekes an easy catch of the bowling of Panthan.

After the lose of the Lions first wicket Brown and new batsmen Scott Newman started to attack the Crusades bowlers finding the gaps around the boundary before Newman was bowled by Scott Syris with the score on 48.

With Thorney by his side Brown upped the tempo scoring his half century of just 31 balls including 5 fours and 2 sixes much to the displeasure of Paul Weekes who dropped the Surrey hitman on 32. Weekes gained his revenge 5 overs later though by bowling Brown for 64 after a fine partnership of 77 with Thorney leaving the lions 126/3.

After the demise of Brown, Thorney took it upon himself to smash the Crusaders bowlers around Lords and was lucky not to be caught by Ed Smith on the boundary for 34 before reaching his half century off just 32 balls. His partnership with Ricki Clarke produced 75 runs and set the Crusaders a target off 201 to win.

Ed Smith and Owais Shah started the Crusaders run chase smashing 39 of the first 4 overs before Ed Smith was bowled by Tim Murtagh for 33 off just 16 balls, his 8 fours gave the Crusaders the perfect start. Ricki Clarke’s inclusion into the Lions attack saw his first ball smashed for a huge six by Shah, the rest of his over went for another 11 runs.

With the Crusaders reaching 75 of just 7 overs Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was called into action to slow down Shah’s partnership with Kiwi Scott Styris which had produced 44 runs. The Crusaders reached 100 off just 61 balls, 6 less then the Lions and victory was in sight.

Shah became the third player to reach 50 taking 32 balls to complete his half century. He then hit 3 big sixes to record the Crusaders first ever 100 run partnership in the Twenty20 Cup, Styris’s contribution was just 30!

Two balls later Shah created another piece of history by scoring the highest ever total for a Crusaders player in the Twenty20 Cup, the record had only been set 24 hours ago at the Rose Bowl by Shah himself. He finally departed for 78 after being caught by Alistair Brown for Tim Murtaghs second wicket of the night.

Two balls later Jamie Dalrymple became Murtaghs third victim after being clean bowled for a duck. The wicket of Scott Styris fell with the score on 160 as Surrey started to turn the screw, with three overs to go the Crusaders needed another 37 runs.

After such a great start the Crusaders started to collapse with the finishing line in sight and when Hutton went for 5 and Pathan for a duck Surrey smelt yet another victory with Middlesex needing 31 of just 12 balls. With the home side rocking Tim Murtagh knocked them out claiming three more wickets in the 18th over finishing with figures of 6 for 24 off four overs.

Despite a fine start by the Crusaders the Lions showed that after losing last years final to the Leicestershire Foxes they were still the kings of Twenty20 cricket winning by 23 runs.

If this performance was anything to go by Leicestershire should take notice, the Lions want their title back.

Twenty20 Cup, 2005, South Division
Middlesex v Surrey
Lord's, London
23 June 2005 (20-over match)

Result: Surrey won by 23 runs
Points: Surrey 2, Middlesex 0

Toss: Surrey
Umpires: NA Mallender and R Palmer

Surrey innings (20 overs maximum)                               R   M   B  4 6
JGE Benning           c Weekes           b Pathan               8   8   7  1 0
*AD Brown                                b Weekes              64  47  39  5 3
SA Newman                                b Styris              16  15  15  1 1
DJ Thornely           not out                                  67  44  42  5 2
R Clarke              not out                                  27  21  18  2 0
Extras                (b 4, lb 3, w 9, nb 2)                   18
Total                 (3 wickets, 20 overs)                   200

DNB: +JN Batty, IDK Salisbury, TJ Murtagh, Harbhajan Singh,
     M Akram, ND Doshi.

FoW: 1-18 (Benning), 2-49 (Newman), 3-125 (Brown).

Bowling                      O      M      R      W
Pathan                       4      0     31      1 (5w)
Betts                        4      0     45      0
Styris                       4      0     27      1
Hutton                       2      0     25      0
Peploe                       2      0     24      0 (1w)
Weekes                       4      0     41      1 (1nb)

Middlesex innings (target: 201 runs from 20 overs)              R   M   B  4 6
OA Shah               c Brown            b Murtagh             78  51  44  7 5
ET Smith                                 b Murtagh             33  13  16  8 0
SB Styris             c Thornely         b Doshi               40  43  35  2 2
JWM Dalrymple                            b Murtagh              0   1   1  0 0
EC Joyce                                 b Murtagh              7  13   9  0 0
*BL Hutton            c Brown            b Thornely             5   3   4  1 0
IK Pathan             c Akram            b Thornely             0   1   1  0 0
+BJM Scott            c Harbhajan Singh  b Murtagh              1   5   2  0 0
PN Weekes                            c & b Murtagh              0   1   1  0 0
CT Peploe             not out                                   3   4   3  0 0
MM Betts              st Batty           b Thornely             4   2   2  1 0
Extras                (lb 2, w 2, nb 2)                         6
Total                 (all out, 19.3 overs)                   177

FoW: 1-39 (Smith), 2-148 (Shah), 3-149 (Dalrymple),
     4-160 (Styris), 5-168 (Hutton), 6-169 (Pathan),
     7-170 (Joyce), 8-170 (Weekes), 9-171 (Scott),
     10-177 (Betts).

Bowling                      O      M      R      W
Akram                        4      0     39      0 (2w)
Murtagh                      4      0     24      6
Clarke                       1      0     17      0 (1nb)
Harbhajan Singh              4      0     29      0
Thornely                     2.3    0     22      3
Doshi                        3      0     34      1
Salisbury                    1      0     10      0
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