Middlesex edge thriller in a London derby that saw records shattered

Surrey      vs     Middlesex

    Surrey   252-7 (20)       Middlesex 254 -3 (19.2)

           Middlesex won by seven wickets

  Vitality Blast South Group  Thursday 22nd June 2023

    Peter Moore at the Kia Oval

After eleven attempts in this season’s Blast Competition, Middlesex final managed to record their first victory  with an astonishing run chase in a thriller at the Kia Over that went the full distance.

Set a massive 253 to win, the visitors got over the line thanks to 73 from skipper Stephen Eskinazi and an unbeaten 68 from Max Holden after Surrey had posted their highest everT20 score at the Kia Oval, with Will Jacks hitting 96 and Laurie Evans 85 in a game that saw the highest ever aggregate total of runs in the T20 506. The highest ever run chase in the T20 along with a game that had a total of 24 sixes and 52 boundaries

Middlesex went into the London derby, still seeking their first win in this season’s competition. The visitors won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Surrey raced to their fifty in just 25 balls as Will Jacks and Laurie Evans dominated the Middlesex bowling attack. The pair were motoring along at eleven an over with Jacks bringing up his half century with his seventh boundary along with two sixes, coming off 28 balls.

Evans fifty quickly followed after launching Ryan Higgins into the pavilion for consecutive sixes, with his half century scored off 27 balls with five boundaries.

Middlesex used six bowlers to try and stem the flow of runs with Luke Hollman being despatched into the stands by Jacks with five consecutive maximums before going for a sixth with  a full toss which went only for a single.

The pair had smashed 177 in a shade over 12 overs when Middlesex finally broke through after Evans(85) was bowled by Max Harris, with his excellent knock coming off only 37 balls including nine fours and five sixes.

With a century in his sights, Jacks(96) fell four short of a century after picking out Hollman at deep point, going for his eighth six. His spectacular innings came off only 45 balls with eight fours.

Middlesex to their credit kept plugging away and managed to stem the flow of runs and boundaries by picking up wickets at regular intervals, with Surrey losing five wickets for 61 runs with Surrey posting their highest ever T20 score at the Kia Oval, by finishing on 252 for 7.

Middlesex, facing the daunting task of having to score 253 to win, started in fine fashion with captain Stephen Eskinazi taking four boundaries off Sam Curran’s opening over.

Like Surrey, Middlesex quickly bought up their fifty with Eskinazi and Joe Cracknell bringing up the half century partnership in eighteen balls.

Captain Eskinazi was leading the run chase for Middlesex with a fifty coming off just 21 balls with ten fours and one six. The pair were giving Middlesex a solid platform to build on when disaster struck with a mix up that saw Cracknell(36) run out at the non-strikers end.

By the half way point, Middlesex had reached 129 for 1, with both Eskinazi and Max Holden having a life. Eskinazi was dropped by Jamie Overton on 35 with the same fielder shelling another chance when Holden was put down in the deep when he had made eight.

Eskinaz’s brave effort was ended when he was caught in the deep by Evans for 73 off 39 balls including 13 fours.

Enter Ryan Higgins who joined Holden in the middle. Between them they managed to get the stiff target down to 25 required off 18 deliveries.

A tight over from Sam Curran went for just five with the target now down to 20 off 12 balls. With Middlesex looking likely to get over the line, Higgins(48) was caught behind off Chris Jordan to end a partnership of 105 off 46 balls.

Heading into the final over to be bowled by Gus Atkinson, Middlesex needed nine to win. The first delivery was despatched off the willow of Jack Davies’s bat for six over the fine leg fence before hitting the winning runs down to the third man boundary to seal an astonishing run chase, as Middlesex finally broke their duck in the competition by getting over the line with four balls to spare.