Eagles suffer Lords defeat to Crusaders
Middlesex made it two wins out of two as they comfortably beat rivals Essex by seven wickets in a Twenty20 Cup match at Lord's.
After being put into bat, Essex were restricted to 115 for nine from their 20 overs after a superb bowling performance from the Middlesex side with Tim Murtagh the pick of the bowlers, finishing with three for 24.
Then after losing Andrew Strauss early on, chopping onto his stumps for 11, captain Ed Smith and Eoin Morgan shared a second-wicket stand of 67 in eight overs before Smith, having been dropped twice, sliced to backward point for 33.
Morgan went on to score 47 from 36 balls with four fours and a six before he ran himself out with only seven runs needed, but the Crusaders eased to their target with 19 balls to spare.
With Middlesex employing five bowling changes in the first 10 overs, Essex never really got going with only Neil Dexter showing any kind of form with 46 from 40 balls and they were soon in trouble, losing their first three wickets with only 40 on the board.
First to go was opener Varun Chopra for eight in the third over when he stepped down the wicket and drove straight to cover, where Dawid Malan snapped up the chance.
Dexter steered his first ball to the cover point boundary but soon lost his skipper as Mark Pettini's attempted straight drive went to Tyron Henderson at mid-on.
The introduction off Shaun Udal brought about the dismissal of James Middlebrook, who holed out to long leg for eight, as Grant Flower and Dexter steered the Eagles past 50 with Dexter sweeping Udal for a huge six.
However, with the score on 62, Essex lost their fourth wicket when Flower tried a reverse sweep off Murali Kartik and was trapped leg before for 12. Ryan ten Doeschate went the same way in Kartik's next over for only seven.
Murtagh's last over saw two wickets fall with the score on 97 as firstly James Foster (five), looking to clip off his legs, found the leading edge, which Udal did well to take diving full length. Three balls later Graham Napier steered behind square to Dirk Nannes for one.
The return of Henderson accounted for Dexter, four runs short of a deserved half-century as he drove to the cover-point boundary.
David Masters and Danish Kaneria pushed the score past 100 before Masters (seven) became the ninth wicket to fall on 111, caught at short fine leg.