Yorkshire v Middlesex (CB40)
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Ah well. Middle needn't be ashamed. They've had a sniff, a sniff in the match of the bullies against the total underdogs. They battled hard, I am not too sad. Rampaging Jacques Rudolph (124*) could not be stopped, but that's in his nature, can't blame the Middlebowlers for that. Restricting Yorks to 250 when everybody expected at least 25 more was a massive success. Toby is such a good boy. Gale and Rudolph hammered the opening bowlers at will, but Toby came in and removed Gale (36) and then his successor Lyth (3). From this point on things went Middlesex' way, Anthony McGrath made 68 but the rest of the Yorkshire Puddings failed to score more than 8. The powerplay, in which they had planned to hit the bowlers out of the ground, backfired exemplarily. In the end Tim Murtagh charmed everybody again with 3 for 35 at 4.37. Toby went at nearly 7 but took 3 essential scalps as well. Horrific figures for Robbie Williams, 0-56 from 6 overs at an econ. of nearly 9.33. Tidy work from the skipper again, the man keeps growing on me with every single match. Overall Pedro Collin's absence was made up for well. I would like to mention that the Lord of Light took another stunner of a one-handed catch to remove Adam Lyth.
|His friends call him Dexy, I call him awesome. (c) Getty Images|
The second innings started so promising, Newman sported the right attitude again, batted beautifully and made 77 off 70. His wicket hurt Middle like ****, and to add insult to injury, it was lbw Bresnan. Arghh! But neither Simpson, nor Shah and Malan, who all went out to more or less unnecessary shots, could score big and this eventually resulted in Middlesex' doom. The middle order imploded entirely, Gareth Berg (who had been sent in ahead of Neil Dexter), Tom Scollay, Shaun Udal and Tim Murtagh all departed without any mentionable contribution.
But what followed was a heartbreaking and desperate fight for survival by the skipper and the awesomely courageous Toby Roland-Jones (yes I am openly campaigning for him, so what :P). Middle had always been a handful of runs behind Yorkshire, but after the 36th over, when also Murts had already departed, the situation became precarious. Middlesex were 8 down and Dexter and TRJ tried to force the ship into the haven; 43 from 24 were needed and Toby gave his all to support his captain as good as he could. In the end he had made more runs than the majority of his fellow batsmen, 23 not out off 18, including a six that gave all Middle supporters enough hope for a win, and plenty of smart and lightning-quick running. Dexter at the other end of the crease seemed an ideal, calm and very determined senior partner for Toby, 56* off 43 balls runs came off his bat, 6 fours took Middlesex closer and closer to the target. The last two overs required some thoughtful T20 batting, 23 from 12 balls were needed, Middle approached the job positively and left 13 runs for them to get from the last over. Unfortunately it was bowled by Anthony McGrath. Over, out, Middx fell 5 runs short of a tie. But what a fight that was! Both Dex and Toby had sunk their teeth right in. I am very proud of their efforts, and generally Middlesex did not embarrass themselves at all here. What hurts is the fact that they had Yorkshire in a position in which they could have defeated them, there was a realistic chance for an upset! With two slogs from Malan the cake could have been eaten. Ah well. It was a great and entertaining match, I've enjoyed it a lot.
On a side note:
Read half-tracker's epic and absorbing analysis of the topic that has been occupying every sane person's thoughts:
Jimmy Adams and England - A future marriage?