Sussex v Middlesex, Royal London Cup, Group B, Hove August 3, 2015

Gubbins and Malan hit tons in high-scoring thriller


Middlesex 367 for 6 (Gubbins 141, Malan 131, Simpson 50) beat Sussex 305 for 9 (Bailey 112, Wright 72, Dexter 3-46) by three runs (DLS method)

Dawid Malan was one of three century-makers in a high-scoring contest © Getty Images

Dawid Malan and Nick Gubbins both made excellent hundreds as Middlesex squeezed past Sussex by three runs in a thriller at Hove to maintain their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Royal London Cup.

Gubbins' maiden List A century, and Malan's fifth one-day hundred helped Middlesex to 367 for 6, their highest ever one-day total.

Two rain delays interrupted Sussex's progress and left them needing 309 off 40 overs at nearly eight runs an over. They were kept in the hunt by a superb 112 from Australian George Bailey, his first sizeable contribution since he joined Sussex in June to play one-day cricket.

Bailey went from 50 to his century in just 27 deliveries and was on strike when Sussex started the final over needing 17.

Bailey took eight off the first three balls from James Harris but was then run out turning for a second by Andrew Balbirnie's throw from deep square leg, having faced 76 balls and hit nine fours and three sixes.

The task of hitting the last ball for six to win proved beyond last man Chris Liddle as Sussex finished on 305 for 9.

They had been given a solid start by Chris Nash and Luke Wright, who put on 74 before Harris took a running catch in the covers to remove Nash for 40 in Neil Dexter's first over.

Wright reached his 21st one-day half-century off just 36 balls and had begun to accelerate when the backpedalling Dexter superbly caught him just inside the rope at long-on for 72 from 53 balls, with a six and 11 fours.

It was a commendable effort by the home side, and in particular Bailey, but a fourth defeat in Group B has ended their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Home skipper Ed Joyce put the visitors in on a pitch used last Thursday under overcast skies and at the end of the first Powerplay Middlesex were a modest 43 for 1, having lost Nick Compton leg before wicket to Ollie Robinson's late inswing.

But Malan and Gubbins gradually wrested control and took full toll of some wayward bowling. Joyce used seven bowlers in the end but only Robinson, who finished with 2 for 61, bowled with any sort of control.

At the peak of their stand, the second wicket pair thrashed 109 in 10 overs from the 29th-39th, taking advantage of a flat pitch and short boundaries as Sussex's bowlers struggled to stem the flow.

Gubbins reached his hundred from 93 balls in style with a six over midwicket and Malan followed him shortly afterwards, from 100 deliveries.

The stand was worth 268, the second-highest in Middlesex's one-day history, when Malan was bowled hitting across the line at Mike Yardy, having hit 13 fours and three sixes in his 131 off 115 balls.

Gubbins' fine knock of 141 ended when he holed out to long-on in the 42nd over, having faced 113 balls and struck nine fours and seven sixes. The suffering did not end there for the hosts as John Simpson flayed 50 off 25 balls, with five fours and two sixes.

Although Middlesex lost wickets at the end in the pursuit of more runs, it was still the second-highest score Sussex had conceded in List A cricket.