Friends Life t20, Monday June 18
Liddle’s big impact in short form
Chris Liddle might be a frustrated figure on the fringes of Sussex's Championship side but he simply cannot stop himself making Twenty20 headlines. The whippy left-arm seamer's match-winning 5 for 17, as the weather gods at last allowed Sussex to begin their T20 campaign at Lord's, included three wickets in four balls as the Sharks beat Middlesex by 11 runs.
Yet Liddle's feat during his career-best performance was not an entirely new experience. It wasn't the first time he had taken three wickets in the same T20 over, nor even the second or third. Liddle has now performed his party piece on four occasions – indeed twice in consecutive summers at Lord's.
It started on his T20 debut, with a triple-wicket maiden in his second over against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in 2008. A week later he took three in his last over against Kent at Hove. A serious ankle injury meant he barely played in 2009 and 2010 but he was at it again with three in his final over against Middlesex at Lord's in 2011.
Liddle, 28, has played only two first-class matches in four seasons and none in the Championship since 2008 but took 21 T20 wickets last season, helping him secure a contract at Hove until 2013.
Lumb back in the runs
Michael Lumb's fury at picking out Liam Plunkett on the cover boundary within one blow of a 13th T20 half-century in the win over Durham reflected the Nottinghamshire opener's burning ambition to make 2012 a defining season in a career still to realise its full potential.
Lumb, who left Hampshire for Trent Bridge over the winter, has already reaffirmed his quality in four-day cricket with two Championship centuries. Yet he is no less keen to remain a major player in T20. Two years after helping England win the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, he wants to be part of the defence of the trophy in September. "I said to myself at the start of the year that I'd like to get back in the England T20 side," he said. "Kevin Pietersen retiring has opened up a spot. If I can score some runs for Notts, hopefully I'll get a phone call."
Kevin's always there for his brother ...
Kevin O'Brien's bond with brother Niall does not extend to letting his older sibling off the hook when the chance arises to bring about his downfall. The Ireland international duo have been on opposing sides three times in professional cricket – and each time 28-year-old Kevin has been party to 30-year-old Niall's dismissal.
Kevin, who made his name with a record-breaking ODI century against England at the World Cup in 2011, was the catcher when Niall was out for 75 for Northants against Ireland in a 50-over Friends Provident Trophy match at Wantage Road in 2008 as well as being the bowler who dismissed Niall for 5 when the same sides met in Dublin three weeks later.
Last night they squared up again as Northants went to Taunton and when, having scored 8, Niall's attempt to reverse sweep Somerset spinner George Dockrell did not go according to plan, Kevin was lying in wait again to put family ties to one side.
Batsmen's turn to shine
Given that damp conditions and abbreviated matches are likely to be the rule rather than the exception if weather predictions for this year's T20 prove accurate, runs might be in short supply. Congratulations are due then to the parties involved in two century partnerships on the same day.
Andrew Gale and Phil Jaques put on 116 for the first Yorkshire wicket against Leicestershire at Headingley, surpassing the county's record T20 opening stand of 104 – also against Leicestershire and also involving Gale – while at New Road, Moeen Ali's fourth six in a 44-ball 82 brought up a stand of exactly 100 with Philip Hughes for the second Worcestershire wicket against Gloucestershire.
Trending: Irish T20 stars
It wasn't enough to set up a win for Surrey at Beckenham, but Gary Wilson continued to establish himself as the latest Irishman with a penchant for T20 runs after an unbeaten 53 against Kent. Surrey's 26-year-old Ulster-born reserve wicketkeeper had some luck – he was dropped twice – but rode it well to complete his third career T20 half-century, all of which have come in his last six innings.