Middlesex Panthers ended their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign with a comfortable seven wicket win over Kent Spitfires at Canterbury. On a wicket taking a good deal of spin, the hosts who had already qualified for the quarter-finals of the competition, were bowled out for 191 and the Panthers got home with 37 balls to spare thanks to a watchful innings of 76 not out from opener Dawid Malan.
Middlesex made two changes to the team that lost against Nottinghamshire the previous week with Joe Denly replacing Ryan Higgins and Gurjit Sandhu coming in for James Harris. After Eoin Morgan won the toss for Middlesex and invited Kent to bat first, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast opened the innings for Kent in the last match of the Canterbury Cricket Week.
Only six runs came off the first three overs of the innings before Northeast took ten runs off the fourth over, bowled by Toby Roland-Jones with nine runs coming off the following over from Gurjit Sandhu. The total reached 30-0 after six overs before Northeast was dismissed for 18 when he edged a Gurjit Sandhu delivery which ‘keeper John Simpson, standing-up at the wicket, got a glove to but the ball was deflected to Dawid Malan in the gully who took a good reaction catch.
Ben Harmison and Bell-Drummond took the total to 49-1 before Harry Podmore who had replaced Toby Roland-Jones at the Pavilion End, bowled Harmison for eight. Fabian Cowdrey joined Bell-Drummond who was missed by John Simpson at the wicket in Ravi Patel’s opening over and Bell-Drummond took advantage of this by taking three fours in a Podmore over when he switched to the Nackington Road End. With nine runs coming off Podmore’s third over, Ravi Patel switched ends with Neil Dexter coming on at the Pavilion End.
The hundred came up in the 21st over as did Bell-Drummond’s fifty (off 63 balls, 5 fours). Neil Dexter had to go off injured after bowling just two overs (he later returned to the field and would have batted at number six) and Dawid Malan was brought on to bowl his leg-breaks. However, it was Ravi Patel who broke the stand when he had Bell-Drummond caught at the wicket by John Simpson for 51.
Darren Stevens managed only a single before he was stumped by John Simpson in Patel’s following over to reduce Kent to 113-4 in the 25th over. Alex Blake joined Cowdrey at the wicket and they added a further 35 runs to the total in nine overs but they were unable to find the boundary. Dawid Malan then had Cowdrey caught by Joe Denly at mid-wicket for 44 off 57 balls, an innings without a boundary. Alex Blake was then bowled round his legs by Joe Denly for 20 (again without a boundary) to reduce the hosts to 151-6 in the 35th over.
Sam Billings and Calum Haggett took the total to 165-6 before Haggett called Billings to run a leg-bye and ‘keeper John Simpson, standing back to the bowling of Roland-Jones, threw the stumps down to run out Haggett for seven. James Tredwell was out for a duck in the following over from Roland-Jones when he was caught at the wicket by John Simpson and Mitchell Claydon was caught by substitute fielder Ollie Rayner at mid-wicket for a duck off Joe Denly’s bowling.
Last-man Doug Bollinger joined Billings at the wicket with the total on 168-9 and the pair added a further 23 runs before Dawid Malan returned to the attack at the Pavilion End and had Billings stumped by John Simpson with his first delivery for 20. Bollinger was 12 not out in the Kent total of 191 with 6.5 overs of the innings remaining. Dawid Malan had figures of 2-25 in 7.1 overs with Ravi Patel taking 2-35 in 10 overs, Joe Denly 2-31 in 5 overs, Toby Roland-Jones 1-40 in 9 overs, Gurjit Sandhu 1-20 in 7 overs and Harry Podmore 1-29 in 3 overs; ‘keeper John Simpson was responsible for five dismissals, taking two catches plus two stumpings and a run-out.
In reply, Chris Rogers and Dawid Malan got Middlesex off to a good start with Rogers scoring twelve runs in the fifth over of the innings, bowled by Mitchell Claydon. The total reached 41-0 in the 7th over before Doug Bollinger who had switched to the Nackington Road End, had Rogers caught at cover by Ben Harmison for 23. Paul Stirling joined Dawid Malan at the wicket and the pair battled hard against James Tredwell’s off-spin at the Pavilion End to take Middlesex to 56-1 at the tea interval.
After the break, Stirling and Malan pushed the ball into the gaps and with good running between the wickets, took Middlesex to 103-1 after 20 overs. After three singles came off Fabian Cowdrey’s left-arm spin in the 21st over, James Tredwell replaced Stevens at the Pavilion End and with his first delivery he lured Stirling down the track and he was stumped by Billings for 40. Joe Denly and Dawid Malan batted watchfully against the spin bowling of Tredwell and Cowdrey before Denly pulled Cowdrey for a six over mid-wicket.
Dawid Malan reached a 79 ball fifty which contained only one boundary as Middlesex reached 133-2 after 30 overs. Joe Denly was then LBW to a Cowdrey delivery for 14 and skipper Eoin Morgan joined Malan with the total on 134-3. Morgan pulled a Bell-Drummond delivery over mid-wicket for a six and he later hit Darren Stevens for a further six in the same direction. The pair generally took no risks with plenty of overs left to get the runs and they reached the target with 37 balls and seven wickets to spare with Dawid Malan finishing on 76 not out (off 123 balls, 3 fours) and Eoin Morgan 31 not out (off 38 balls, 2 sixes & 3 fours).
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