Middlesex finally get first win
Neil Dexter's 73 helped defending champions beat Essex by 23 runs in the Twenty20 Cup at Lord's and record their first win in this season's competition.
Dexter shared a second-wicket stand of 100 with Owais Shah (49) as the hosts racked up 166-5 after winning the toss.
Tyron Henderson then picked up 3-34 as the visitors were bowled out for 143, despite 51 from opener Varun Chopra.
Essex now need to defeat Hampshire on Sunday if they are to have any hope of reaching the quarter-finals.
Dexter's highest Twenty20 score in 35 games came with six fours and four sixes as Middlesex took advantage of an Essex side without Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara, who have joined up with the England squad ahead of the Ashes.
Chopra did his best to make up for their absence, but lacked support as wickets fell regularly at the other end.
Opening partner Mark Pettini, who had scored 167 runs in his previous two innings, was brilliantly caught and bowled by Steven Finn, while Graham Napier and Matt Walker both went cheaply to leave Essex struggling at 40-3.
Grant Flower (18) and James Foster (19) gave them some hope, but when they fell to the spin of Shaun Udal and Dawid Malan respectively, the visitors were doomed to defeat.