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Finn sees Middlesex home

13 July 2017 National Sport

Steven Finn hit a dramatic winning boundary off Ravi Rampaul to earn Middlesex a one-wicket victory in the NatWest T20 Blast against Surrey before a near sell-out 27,205 London derby crowd at a floodlit Lord’s.

A sudden collapse left Middlesex needing nine runs from the last three overs but with three wickets still intact.

Jade Dernbach then had Nathan Sowter caught at cover and John Simpson, trying to turn Rampaul to leg, was caught for seven off a leading edge.

From 133-3, chasing 159, Middlesex had staggered to 153-9. That left last man Finn coming in to join Tom Helm with six still required. He survived a close lbw appeal from Rampaul before the next ball, also angled into his pads, flew away for four leg byes.

Rampaul’s next ball, the fourth of the 19th over, was an attempted slower ball and Finn clipped the resulting full toss
to the mid wicket ropes.

Surrey captain Gareth Batty had earlier taken 4-14 with his off-spin, including a double-wicket maiden in the 16th over when he dismissed both Eoin Morgan and Tim Southee, to set in motion the collapse which produced such a thrilling finish on a two-paced pitch.

Only Kumar Sangakkara, with 70 from 42 balls, took the attack to Middlesex’s bowlers for anything other than a brief cameo and Surrey’s eventual 158-9 never looked enough.

Dawid Malan and Paul Stirling began the chase well, the left-handed Malan hitting two fours in the first over from Dernbach and Stirling plundering two fours and a remarkable swatted six over wide third man from Sam Curran’s opening over.

At 37, and after Malan had driven Rampaul’s first ball high for four, Stirling fell for 23 in that same fourth over as he mishit to mid-off.

Malan twice swung Rampaul for huge legside sixes in a sixth over which ended with Middlesex well ahead of the required rate at 64 for one.

Brendon McCullum made only nine before slugging Batty’s second ball high to long on, where Sangakkara took a good tumbling catch.

Surrey’s hopes rose when Malan (41) chipped a low catch to Ollie Pope at extra cover.

Morgan and James Franklin put together a fourth-wicket stand of 53 in six overs. That looked to be guiding Middlesex to a comfortable victory, but then Batty returned to have Morgan caught at point for 31, with Southee slogging the next ball into the hands of long off.

Ryan Higgins drove his first ball for four, off Tom Curran, and then pulled his next for six. But the next was edged behind as Higgins went for 10. Franklin was bowled later in Curran’s over for 23. Then came the fall of both Sowter and Simpson, and Finn’s late heroics.

The match began with Finn’s opening over, the second of the innings, being taken for 17 runs as Aaron Finch followed two legside fours with a pulled six into the Mound Stand.

With Finch already having collected a five in the opening over, a direct hit run out attempt by Higgins deflecting off the bowlers’ stumps and racing away for four overthrows, Surrey were off to a flyer.

Southee tried to stem the early flow of runs, producing a beauty to have Dom Sibley caught behind for five in his second over with the new ball, and when Tom Helm replaced him at the Nursery End he bowled Finch for 22 through an attempted heave at his first delivery.

Helm’s opening over only cost a single but Sangakkara increased the tempo again by lofting the unhappy Finn high over the covers for six and then taking a couple of steps down the pitch to swing Helm magnificently over long on for another maximum.

Sowter’s introduction for the eighth over saw the Australian-born leg-spinner knock back Ben Foakes’ off stump with his first ball, the England Lions wicketkeeper-batsman only briefly firing with 13, but teenager Pope – who also made 13 – then added 23 with Sangakkara before he was bowled by a slower ball from the returning Southee.

The Curran brothers did not last long, Stirling’s off spin accounting for them both. Sangakkara, though, hit Franklin’s left-arm seam high over extra cover for six and also drove and swung fours off the same bowler in a 16th over costing 18.

When Finn returned for the 19th over the Sri Lankan left-hander diverted a low full toss into his own stumps.

Helm bowled a tight final mover in which Batty hit him straight to extra cover and Rampaul picked out deep square leg to go for ducks and the Surrey innings ended with a whimper.

Our live coverage of the NatWest T20 Blast continues with a Roses derby as Lancashire host Yorkshire at 6.45pm on Friday on .

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