Middlesex v Essex Eagles – T20 Vitality Blast – Lord’s – Summary
Middlesex 183/2 (20.0 overs)
Essex Eagles 184/3 (20.0 overs)
Essex Eagles won the toss and elected to bowl
Essex Eagles won by two wickets
Skipper Simon Harmer secured a dramatic last-ball victory for Essex Eagles over old adversaries Middlesex at Lord’s, enhancing their chances of progressing in this seasons Vitality Blast competition.
Middlesex provided early evidence of their intentions with Stevie Eskinazi and Joe Cracknell compiling 80 for the opening wicket – the latter first to depart, trapped lbw by Aron Nijjar for 29.
Eskinazi reached fifty off 28 balls, and a century off 59 as the situation began to appear somewhat ugly for Essex. The Johannesburg-born right-hander carried his bat, finishing unbeaten on 102. Nijjar and Jimmy Neesham the only Essex bowlers to find a way through.
Will Buttleman hit Tom Helm for six off the second delivery of the Eagles response. But there was to be no repeat of his heroics from the Oval three days earlier as Gubbins provided an accurate arm to send him back having added a further two to his tally.
Steven Finn’s emphatic dismissal of Adam Wheater suggested further that the writing was on the wall. Nevertheless, another of Essex’s wicketkeeper/batsmen, Michael Pepper, carried the fight, hitting 43 off 32 before falling to a towering catch from Chris Green off his own delivery – the 22-year-olds third-wicket stand with Dan Lawrence, 67.
With the run rate creeping up, Essex’s fragile hopes rested upon Lawrence and Jimmy Neesham. The pair put on 57 before Lawrence was caught on the boundary by Blake Cullen off one which pitched up from Helm.
Nevertheless, the visitors had set up a grandstand finish. Helm swung the contest back the way of Middlesex with a fizzing ball which clipped the top of Neesham’s middle stump.
Paul Walter was sent packing off the opening delivery of the final over and Ryan ten Doeschate followed him a ball later, leaving Daryl Mitchell on a hat-trick. Nijjar appeared to have redressed the balance with a boundary, but Mitchell struck again as the drama continued to unfold. Incredibly, Harmer cut Mitchell for four off the final ball to secure an unlikely, but ultimately famous victory for Essex at the Home of Cricket.
Essex Eagles return to T20 Vitality Blast action on Friday, June 27 when Kent Spitfires visit the Cloudfm County Ground (7pm).
Middlesex: SS Eskinazi, JB Cracknell, NRT Gubbins, DJ Mitchell, JA Simpson (WK), LBK Hollman, CJ Green, NA Sowter, BC Cullen, TG Helm, ST Finn (Capt)
Essex Eagles: AJA Wheater (WK), WEL Buttleman, DW Lawrence, MS Pepper, JDS Neesham, RN ten Doeschate, PI Walter, SR Harmer (Capt), ASS Nijjar, SJ Cook, JA Porter
Umpires: PK Baldwin and IJ Gould
Scorers: D K Shelley and AE Choat
Match Referee: J Whitaker