Middlesex v Essex, FLt20, South Group, Lord's July 4, 2013

20,000 watch Malan tame Tait


Middlesex 174 for 3 (Malan 86, Denly 52*) beat Essex 170 for 8 (Rutherford 38) by seven wickets

Dawid Malan tamed Essex's Australian pace ace Shaun Tait at Lord's as his 55-ball 86 helped to propel Middlesex to a seven-wicket victory in a Friends Life t20 South Group game played before a crowd of almost 20,000.

Tait conceded 17 runs from his third over as Malan's assault, including one remarkable six over extra cover, led a thrilling chase after Essex had posted a challenging 170 for 8 from their 20 overs.

In the end, with Joe Denly unbeaten on 52 from 35 balls, Middlesex got home with two balls to spare after Adam Voges had been run out for 17 attempting a second to win the game from the second ball of the last over, bowled by Ravi Bopara.

Adam Rossington then came in to flick the second ball he faced to the long-leg boundary to complete a fine Middlesex performance, in which a 93-run stand in nine overs between Malan and Denly ultimately made the difference.

Malan dominated an opening stand of 37 in five overs with Paul Stirling, who had made only 5 when he lifted a Graham Napier full toss straight to deep square leg, and Denly was soon into his stride when he slog-swept Greg Smith for six.

Seventeen runs from the 11th over, bowled by Reece Topley, and then 11 off Bopara in the next prompted Essex captain James Foster to bring back Tait. But three of his first four balls were wides and then Malan hit him for his memorable six and a flicked four behind square leg.

He hit three sixes and 10 fours overall before holing out off left-arm spinner Tim Phillips at the start of the 15th over. Denly, however, slog-sweeping Smith for another six, made sure Middlesex's victory surge did not run out of steam and, with Voges also chipping in, only 10 runs were needed from the last two overs.

Earlier, the Essex innings had been launched in spectacular style by Hamish Rutherford and Mark Pettini, who put on 59 with a barrage of big hits before Rutherford, the New Zealand left-hander, was leg-before to Toby Roland-Jones from the last ball of the fifth over.

Twenty runs had already come from the over, with Rutherford picking up two of his three sixes with legside blows as he sped to 38 from just 17 balls. He had earlier swung his compatriot Kyle Mills high over the wide long-on boundary and also hit four fours in an excellent cameo.

Pettini, who needed a runner after being hit painfully on the inner thigh by a ball from Roland-Jones, still managed a 26-ball 37 with three sixes and three fours before being bowled by Ravi Patel, the 21-year-old slow left-arm spinner making an impressive Twenty20 debut.

Patel conceded just 17 runs from his four-over allocation, found good spin and looks a fine prospect. With Voges, the Australian, also picking up 2 for 21 from his four overs of left-arm spin, the Essex innings was reined in somewhat during the middle overs.

But Napier - coming in mysteriously low at number nine and ridiculously late with just two overs remaining - blasted two sixes and two fours in an eight-ball 24 to boost the total to defendable proportions.

Bopara, meanwhile, batted sensibly to reach 32 not out from 28 balls, slog-sweeping Stirling for successive fours in an 18th over that cost 14 runs. Essex, thanks to Napier and Bopara, plundered 44 from the last three overs after Middlesex had previously pegged back an innings racing along at 63 for 1 after the initial six-over Powerplay to 126 for 6 after 17.

Owais Shah was unluckily run out for 11, backing up, when Smith's straight drive was deflected on to the bowler's stumps by Patel, but Smith, Ryan ten Doeschate and Foster all fell cheaply to spin - Foster hitting an awful long hop from the first ball of Malan's leg spin straight to short extra cover.

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  • Samuel on July 5, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    Malan really is ridiculously talented - it's a shame he can't translate his limited overs consistency to the four day game, but in both 20 over and 40 over cricket he's one to watch. Times the ball through the off side as well as anyone in the country.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    A very enjoyable evening. Malan was a class apart. I do wish he would do that more often as he has the ability to play for England. A lofted drive for six off Tait was highly impressive.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Enjoyed watching Hamish 'Son of Ken' Rutherford smack Kyle Mills into the upper tier of the Warner Stand last night. Bet that comes up in the NZ dressing room at some stage in the future :-)

    Was surprised to see a runner for Mark Pettini though. I thought being able to have a runner had been stopped in cricket now, or is that only at international level/shorter forms of the game? Apologies in advance if my ignorance makes any eyes roll!

  • Shipu on July 5, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Some of these counties should look at signing Tamim Iqbal. Much better deal than the likes of Tait, Voges etc.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Carol Trew - Tymal damaged his hamstring in the 4 day game V England, hence why he couldn't bat in our second innings in that game. Had he been fit I've no doubt he'd have played last night. Tait is a waste of time, and Topley had a rare off night. No idea why Smithy came in at 3, with Tendo already out there as runner for Swampy, he'd have been better off batting at 3 with Napes at 4.

  • Harvey on July 5, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    @Cyril_Knight - Nannes is past his best now, but for a while was actually a class act, and a worthy overseas signing. Tait on the other hand is a candidate for the title of Most Overrated Player in the History of Competitive Sport. I think you're being a little harsh on him though. Last time I saw him play against Middlesex (for Glamorgan at Richmond) he went for well over 50 off his 4 overs! Last night's display was a marked improvement on that. Re. your general point, I think next year's spread out format will make it less attractive for counties to sign that type of player, and less attractive for them to come. That's a good thing, because although there's nothing wrong with overseas signings, we want the kind who are going to make a positive contribution to their club and to English cricket rather than those who have taken the lazy option of making quick and easy money from T20.

  • Jeff on July 5, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    @ Paul Rone-Clarke - i'm not sure Malan's problem at Middx has been lack of 1st class games.

    If you look at the stats, he has been pretty much ever present in the Middx championship team since 2009;

    2009, 15 games, ave 37.20 2010, 16 games, ave 38.50 2011, 17 games, ave 36.42 2012, 17 games, ave 33.22 2013, 7 games, ave 33.75

    It's only been the last 2 CC games that he's been dropped, and you have to say that his stats seems to suggest that was the correct decision - an average of 33 over the past 2 years is hardly worth a place in a Div 1 batting line up.

    His one day form, on the other hand, has been fantastic this season.

  • John on July 5, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    @Farr6000 on (July 5, 2013, 6:09 GMT), Tait is Essex' "big name" overseas signing because he has a reputation. If he's the one who's expected to do the most then he will be the one most noticed for not doing enough.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Malan would be better off going somewhere where he gets more first XI games. Though I suspect no matter how many players they have Surrey will bid. Surrey are like a nodding dog in an auction room. Just bid on everything out of some reflex action or habit.

    @Rohit. England ODI and T20 games have favoured spin for years. Every televised game begins with Bumble saying "Looks like a slow one, the bowling side will be looking to 'take pace off the ball'"

    Happens so often he might as well have it pre-recorded. Sadly it's true every time as well.

  • Martin on July 5, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    @Cyril_Knight - I would pay to watch Shaun Tait! He has off days and can be expensive but he is also a proven match-winner in this format. He'll blow a couple of teams away in the T20. I do agree that all is not right at Essex. Derby last year and Northants this have had few stars but been greater than the sum of their parts - Essex have lots of talent and big names but consistently underperform.

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