Finn shows England form to rouse Middlesex
Middlesex 243 (Franklin 54, Malan 50, Ingram 4-39) beat Glamorgan 227 (Ingram 53, Finn 4-39) by 16 runs
Steve Finn produced a high-class display of fast bowling at Radlett to maintain Middlesex's slim hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the Royal London Cup. The rangy pace bowler took 4 for 39, including a decisive spell of three wickets in nine balls that proved pivotal in a tight contest.
Set 244 to win after Middlesex were bowled out eight balls shy of their 50 overs, Glamorgan looked well on course for victory at 104 for 1. Then Finn intervened and, although all-rounder Colin Ingram followed up an earlier four-wicket bowling haul with a run-a-ball 50, Glamorgan fell 16 runs short.
The bucolic surroundings of this surprisingly rural venue belied the brutal nature of the contest. The match was in effect an eliminator: whoever lost would have very little chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the Royal London Cup.
Between them these two sides had won three matches in ten attempts in the competition and at times the lack of confidence showed. But there were also classy performances, none more than those by Finn and Colin Ingram, who took 4 for 39 with his leg-breaks.
Middlesex's innings featured a welcome return to form from Dawid Malan, who scored his first half-century against a rival county in his ten innings this season. Malan made exactly 50, in 56 balls, before being bowled trying to cut Ingram.
Malan and Adam Voges added 70 in 12 overs after Middlesex had lost Nick Gubbins and Nick Compton cheaply but Malan's dismissal, followed by a trio of leg befores gained by Ingram, undermined the innings.
With the hosts in danger of not using all their overs James Franklin played a careful captain's knock to rebuild the innings. He received good support from Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Helm, whose 25 was his highest List A score.
Glamorgan set off brightly, posting 53 before losing skipper Jacques Rudolph, caught at slip off Finn. David Lloyd and Will Bragg added a further 51. But just as it seemed the visitors would stroll to victory Finn took 3 for 0 in nine balls.
With Toby Roland-Jones chipping in suddenly Glamorgan were 109 for 5. Ingram and Chris Cooke dug in. They were two of the five South Africans in the visiting side, complementing four Welshmen and two Australians. The pair had added 65 when Tom Helm bowled Cooke. As long as Ingram was there, Glamorgan had hope. But when he skied Helm to mid-wicket there were still 24 runs to go and one wicket left. Ryan Higgins took that to finish with 3 for 32 and keep Middlesex in the competition.