Malan, Dexter cool in Middlesex chase
Middlesex 250 for 6 (Malan 99) beat Somerset 247 for 7 (Hildreth 102*, Rayner 3-31) by four wickets
James Hildreth's unbeaten century was ultimately in vain for Somerset as Middlesex snatched a four-wicket win in the last over at Lord's. Dawid Malan fell a run short of a century in reply but, with a nerveless unbeaten 39 from 38 balls, Neil Dexter got the hosts got home under the lights at HQ.
Bu they were made to sweat after Hildreth took 26 from the final over, bowled by James Harris, to reach 102 not out and set a defendable score of 247 for 7.
Middlesex looked to be cruising at 159 for 1in the 24th over, after Malan had figured in stands of 71 and 88 with Paul Stirling and Joe Denly respectively, but a cool captain's innings by Dexter was then required after the loss of four wickets for 26 runs in eight overs.
Victory eventually arrived with five balls to spare as Dexter, Gareth Berg and Ollie Rayner, who ended a good match for him by pulling the winning boundary, dealt impressively with the pressure of having to score 55 from the last eight overs.
Stirling had fallen for 27 when he speared his 24th ball straight to mid-off, but Denly included a six over long-on against Arul Suppiah in his 31 before he went for a rash big hit against Max Waller's leg-spin and skied a catch to wicketkeeper Alex Barrow.
Suddenly panic set in and Middlesex also lost Chris Rogers for 1, superbly caught low down by Marcus Trescothick diving to his right at first slip off Jamie Overton, who then trapped Adam Rossington leg before for 6 with a stunning yorker. When Malan drove wildly at Craig Meschede's medium pace, and Barrow flung himself to his left to cling on to the edge, Somerset were right back in the game at 185 for 5 in the 31st over.
But Dexter added 44 in combative fashion with Berg, until the latter skied a leading edge to long off to depart for 17, and Rayner also played well to finish on 12 not out. The win puts Middlesex into third place in Group C.
Hildreth had earlier completed his hundred in spectacular style, hitting Harris for three successive sixes and two fours in the 40th over of the Somerset innings to boost the total.
Before the explosive end to Hildreth's superbly-paced 94-ball innings, which contained seven fours as well as those three sixes from the first three balls of the final over, it seemed that off-spinner Rayner's fine eight-over spell of 3 for 31 had put Middlesex well on top.
Somerset, who beat Middlesex by six wickets at Taunton a fortnight ago, were given a rollicking start by Trescothick and Peter Trego, who put on 73 before Rayner struck his first blow in the ninth over of their innings.
Trescothick, having clubbed two sixes and four fours in 41 from 33 balls, was bowled middle stump as he propped forward defensively to one that straightened in Rayner's opening over. Trego was well held for a 28-ball 35 by keeper Rossington, standing up to Harris's fast-medium on a docile surface, and Rayner then had the out-of-form England Test batsman Nick Compton brilliantly held one-handed for six by a leaping Dexter at short midwicket.
Dexter claimed a more straightforward catch when South Africa allrounder Dean Elgar chipped to short extra cover on 15, and only Hildreth stood firm as the Somerset slide continued as Barrow gave Stirling a simple return catch and Suppiah hit Tim Murtagh to extra cover.
But from 187 for 6, Hildreth was joined by Meschede, who drove Toby Roland-Jones into the pavilion for six, in a resourceful stand of 32 before Hildreth's own magnificent late assault on Harris.