Sean Abbott five-for leads Surrey to crushing win over Middlesex

Surrey

Sean Abbott’s 5 for 18, including wickets with successive balls led the way as Surrey crushed London rivals Middlesex by 56 runs at Lord’s to return to the top of the South Group table.

The Aussie seamer mixed slower balls with great yorkers to expose the home side’s fragile batting and ensure they were never in the hunt for a victory target of 186.

Abbott’s wasn’t the only five-wicket haul of the night with Luke Hollman taking a career-best 5-16 in the format, including three in one over, but Tom Curran (48 from 28) and Laurie Evans (41 from 20) steered Surrey to a challenging 185 for 9 despite the Middlesex leg-spinner’s heroics.

For Middlesex defeat was their 13th in a row at home in the Blast, a run now stretching back more than two years.

Dom Sibley, dropped on nought by Martin Andersson, soon departed lbw for 5 after Surrey were invited to bat, but thereafter Dan Lawrence and Laurie Evans dominated the remainder of the powerplay for the visitors.

Evans was particularly belligerent, upper-cutting one from Henry Brookes over the ropes before bludgeoning Tom Helm over mid-on for a second six. Lawrence was more classical, creaming one for four through the covers and cutting to good effect.

The introduction of Hollman though changed the landscape. The leg-spinner began the fightback, pinning Evans lbw attempting to sweep one off the stumps before causing skipper Ollie Pope to sky one to extra cover in his next over.

He wasn’t done there producing a trio of wickets in his third over – and it might have been more. Lawrence found the hands of Helm at long-on, while Rory Burns should have been stumped first ball, Jack Davies fumbling the chance, but the wicketkeeper atoned two balls later when Surrey’s red-ball skipper was undone by a googly. And Hollman capped a magical over, trapping Jamie Smith, a man with a strike-rate of 210 this season, lbw.

The Brown caps had stumbled to 106 for 6, but Curran remained and counter-attacked fiercely. Three times the allrounder cleared the ropes with Brookes the bowler to suffer most, though the former Warwickshire quick gained some recompense when Curran holed out two short of 50 in the last over.

Chasing 186, Andersson perished early caught in the deep off Abbott and when he removed Stephen Eskinazi and Holden with the last two balls of the powerplay, the latter for a first-ball duck, undone by a yorker, the rate was already over 10.

Leus Du Plooy, recovered from a virus, fell in the next over to Curran and the hosts, dismissed for a worst ever score of 78 in the format nine days earlier, were staring at defeat once more at 41 for 4.

Davies (35) cracked Abbott’s hat-trick ball through mid-on for four, but the usually explosive Ryan Higgins was trapped in front later in the over.

At the other end, Curran was forced out of the attack after being struck on the arm, but Hollman was unable to repeat his heroics with the ball bat in hand and Davies became Abbott’s fifth victim as the visitors won comfortably.