Eagles crash-land as Blast campaign goes bang

Essex Eagles v Middlesex – T20 Vitality Blast – Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford – Summary

Middlesex 169/5 (20.0 overs)
Essex Eagles 160/9 (20.0 overs)
Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat
Middlesex won by nine runs

Essex Eagles’ disappointing T20 Vitality Blast campaign took another turn for the worse as struggling Middlesex recorded a deserved nine-run victory at a sweltering Cloudfm County Ground.

Despite the early wicket of Max Holden – snaffled in the gloves of Adam Wheater off the first delivery he’d faced from Sam Cook – Middlesex went about their business with the bat in a manner which belittled their lowly position in the table.

Sam Robson and Joe Cracknell put on 59 for the second wicket. The latter first to go, caught on the rope by Aron Nijjar off Jimmy Neesham, while Robson went on to reach 60. Nijjar and Neesham reversed roles – the innings consisting of six 4s and two 6s.

Daryl Mitchell contributed 43 off 30 deliveries – Cook with 2/41 for the home side.

Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence put together 50 off 29 balls – Lawrence heading back, caught at mid-on by Mitchell off Nathan Sowter.

Westley went for 37 and with the rate dipping alarmingly, Neesham and starlet Josh Rymell attempted to move the score along. Mujeeb Ur Rahman clipped the top of leg, removing Rymell for 21 – the partnership 37 – and when Neesham followed, caught by Joe Cracknell to hand Blake Cullen his second victim of the contest, the writing appeared to be on the wall.

And so it proved. Steven Finn’s hat-trick opportunity was emphatically blown away by a towering six from Nijjar. But the damage was done – Middlesex, propping up the table at the start of play, recording only their fourth victory of an equally frustrating campaign. Finn the pick of the bunch with the ball for Middlesex with 3/25.

Essex faced Cambridgeshire in a 50-over friendly match at The Cloudfm County Ground on Tuesday, July 20 (2pm). On Thursday 22 they head to the Ageas Bowl to take on Hampshire in the Royal London Cup (11am).

Essex Eagles: T Westley, AJA Wheater (WK), DW Lawrence, MS Pepper, JDS Neesham, JS Rymell, PI Walter, SR Harmer (Capt), ASS Nijjar, S Snater, SJ Cook

Middlesex: SD Robson, B Cracknell, DJ Mitchell, MDE Holden, A Simpson (WK), LBK Hollman, NA Sowter, BC Cullen, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, ST Finn (Capt), TG Helm

​​Umpires: GD Lloyd and IJ Gould
Scorers: AE Choat and D K Shelley
Match Referee: SJ Davis

Brian Jeeves

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