HAMPSHIRE WON BY 5 WICKETS (D/L METHOD): MIDDLESEX 295-8 (50 OVERS); HAMPSHIRE 204-5 (25.3 OVERS)
Liam Dawson hit 68 not out from 40 balls to lead Hampshire to a five-wicket win with three balls to spare in a rain-affected Royal London One-Day Cup match at Radlett, after Brendon McCullum had produced a brilliant 74 on his Middlesex one-day debut but still found himself upstaged by teenage leg spinner Mason Crane.
Sean Ervine clubbed two sixes and four fours in a 32-ball 45 and it was his fourth wicket stand of 89 in nine overs with Dawson which proved decisive after Crane had taken 4 for 80 in Middlesex’s 50-over total of 295 for 8.
Hampshire, who were 12 for 1 off 4.2 overs when heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, held up play for two hours and ten minutes, were set a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 202 from 26 overs when the game got back under way at 5.15pm.
That meant, in effect, scoring another 190 from 21.4 overs and Wheater and Adams initially prospered as they took their second wicket stand to 62 in eight overs. Wheater was the chief aggressor, twice in four balls mowing James Franklin’s left-arm seam over wide long on for six in the 11th over.
Tom Helm had forced Joe Weatherley to chop into his stumps on 2 in the fourth over, before the rain came, and Hampshire’s second wicket fell when Adams skied Toby Roland-Jones to deep cover on 26. Wheater’s 32-ball 41 came to end when he advanced to Paul Stirling’s off spin, missed a push-drive, and was comfortably stumped in the 13th over.
But, from 80 for 3, the Hampshire chase was given fresh impetus by Ervine and Dawson. Spinners Stirling and Ravi Patel were struck for sixes by left-hander Ervine, while Dawson – who was earlier Hampshire’s most economical bowler – treated fast bowlers James Fuller and Tom Helm harshly.
When Ervine was bowled by Fuller in the 22nd over only 33 more runs were required and most of them came from Dawson, who survived a hard low chance to deep mid wicket off Fuller on 54, in a 24th over costing 13 as he also thick-edged twice to the third man boundary.
In all, Dawson hit nine fours, while the winning blow came from Gareth Andrew who smeared his first ball through extra cover for four after Will Smith had perished to the first ball of the final over and Dawson had taken a single from the second to bring up Hampshire’s 200.
In Middlesex’s innings 19-year-old leg spinner Crane took four prime wickets despite conceding 80 runs from his ten overs, and was thus instrumental in keeping Middlesex’s 50-over total below 300. McCullum’s 74 from 56 balls, featuring four sixes and eight fours, included some wonderful strokes.
He flicked a ball from Ryan Stevenson high over square leg for his first six and then pulled Gareth Berg flat and hard for another maximum. His fifty arrived from 35 balls, and a decent-sized home crowd were being treated to some world-class batting as well as looking forward to an intimidating total as the scoreboard recorded the arrival of Middlesex’s 100 in the 15th over.
Crane’s first success came in the 16th over when a lovely looping leg-break spun back through Dawid Malan’s attempted drive to bowl the left-hander for 25. Then, immediately after McCullum had deposited the teenager straight back over his head for the New Zealander’s fourth six, Crane kept his nerve to turn a perfectly-pitched delivery which took the edge of a forward push on its way into Ervine’s hands at slip.
Crane’s excited celebrations at this prized scalp were understandable and, although he kept shipping runs, the youngster struck a further blow to Middlesex’s hopes of a truly challenging 50-over total when he returned to bowl the 36th over and had Morgan caught at deep mid wicket from a mistimed attempt to clear the legside boundary. Franklin was Crane’s fourth victim, caught at long off for a useful 39-ball 40.
Again, what was impressive was that the leg spinner remained unfazed by being swung for six by Franklin from the previous ball. Tossing the ball up again, he was rewarded with a mistimed drive that went straight to Dawson as he moved in from his position on the ropes in front of the pavilion. Dawson’s ten overs of left-arm spin were delivered skilfully and he fully deserved his final figures of 1 for 32.
The ball which hit Stirling’s off stump to bowl him for 2 turned to beat a strange-looking prod from the Irishman. Ervine, shortly before, had deceived Nick Gubbins with a slower ball from around the wicket which hit the left-hander on the boot and earned the medium pacer and stand-in Hampshire captain a leg-before verdict.
Gubbins made 32 from 41 balls and his third wicket partnership with Morgan had brought 76 in 11 overs. At that stage Middlesex were cruising but Crane’s dismissal of Morgan, coupled with Stirling’s early exit, slowed the innings.
John Simpson, with 21, helped Franklin to add 49 in eight overs for the sixth wicket, but they both fell trying to up the tempo and Fuller was out for a duck before Roland-Jones and Helm tried to get the final total up to as near to 300 as they could in the closing overs.