Fightback in the field earns Middlesex first Blast win

Middlesex 178 for 6 (Higgins 44, Eskinazi 40, Bartlett 3-34) beat Kent 173 for 8 (Bell-Drummond 60, Hollman 2-18) by four wickets

Middlesex beat the Kent Spitfires by four wickets in Vitality Blast at Canterbury after a brilliant fight back in the field.

Luke Hollman pulled Matt Parkinson for the winning six with four balls remaining, after Ryan Higgins 44 hit from 29 balls and Stephen Eskinazi made 40.

Middlesex finished on 178 for 6 and the win followed a superb recovery with the ball: at one point they looked likely to be chasing a target of well over 200.

Daniel Bell-Drummond made 60 from 38 balls but after plundering 118 from the first 11 overs, Kent were restricted to 173 for 8, Hollman taking 2 for 18 and Tom Helm 2 for 24.

The visitors chose to field and Tom Helm got Zak Crawley for four when he drove the third ball of the innings straight to Martin Andersson at extra cover.

Blake Cullen then sent Tawanda Muyeye’s leg stump flying for 12 but Bell-Drummond and Marcus O’Riordan countered with a rapid stand of 66 from 29 balls. Higgins had the latter lbw for 28 and Sam Billings was bowled for 10 by Hollman, trying to reverse sweep.

The run rate dipped drastically after Bell-Drummond holed out to Hollman and was caught by Leus du Plooy. Joey Evison played on to Josh de Caires and was bowled for four and Kent couldn’t manage a single boundary in overs 15 to 17.

The 18th went for 15 but the last two went for just 10 after Joe Denly skied Helm to Eskinazi for 28 and Beyers Swanepoel swiped Henry Brookes to the same fielder for eight.

Kent reverted to their title-winning strategy of 2021 by throwing the ball to Denly and he took his 50th T20 wicket when he trapped Andersson lbw for a five-ball duck.

Yet the visitors again rallied: Eskinazi hit the first sixes of the match and looked well set until he tried to ramp Swanepoel and played on.

Kent’s hopes rose again when Xavier Bartlett pinned Higgins at the start of the 13th and three balls later he sent du Plooy’s off stump flying for 18.
Max Holden hit Grant Stewart for successive fours but then ramped him straight to Matt Parkinson and was out for 17.

Hollman, however, eased visiting nerves when he hit Parkinson for a six and a four in the 17th and Jack Davies dumped Bartlett’s first ball of the 18th over cow corner for six.

Davies then chipped Bartlett to Evison and was out for 23, but by then Middlesex just needed 11 off the last two overs with four wickets in hand.

De Caires straight drove Swanepoel for four to leave the visitors one blow from victory and with three needed off the last six, Hollman creamed Parkinson over cow corner.