County awards - June July 2, 2008

Middlesex's successful crisis

Cricinfo picks out the best performances from the county circuit during June

June was dominated by the Twenty20 Cup in England and Cricinfo looks back at some of the on-field highlights during an action-packed few weeks

Record breaker: Graham Napier launches one of his 16 sixes during an extraordinary innings against Sussex © Warren Page

Team of the month - Middlesex
Crisis, what crisis? At the end of May the frustrated Middlesex members signed a petition calling for a Special General Meeting to discuss the team's poor form. The only problem is Middlesex have since gone on one of their best winning streaks in recent years. Two Championship wins, an FP Trophy victory and five straight Twenty20 success made it an eight-match unbeaten run. A couple of hiccups followed, but they are safely into the Twenty20 quarter-finals as group winners. Their Twenty20 form was especially surprising, considering their miserable record in previous seasons. The stand-out feature has been their bowling attack, especially the unheralded Dirk Nannes from Victoria who collected a hat-trick against Essex and the ageless Shaun Udal who is enjoying an Indian summer to his career.

Innings of the month - Graham Napier, 152 out, v Sussex
This was looking like a tough category to judge - until a Tuesday evening in Chelmsford. Graham Napier told his coach, Paul Grayson, that he'd felt pretty good in the nets and how about a chance at No.3. After some discussion he was moved up the order, and proceeded to blast an English Twenty20 record 152 off 58 balls. His innings included a world record 16 sixes, beating Brendon McCullum's record from the IPL, and it made him the talk of Chelmsford. Napier's career hasn't developed since he was part of England's Under-19 World Cup winning side in 1998, but given all the money now being thrown at Twenty20 it's a good time to show you can hit a long ball.

Judgement of the month - Gareth Breese
There were a fair few last-ball finishes during the qualifying stages, but none quite in the fashion of Durham's tie against Yorkshire at Headingley. Needing eight off two balls, Ben Harmison crunched the penultimate ball down the ground and was desperate to come back for as second. However, Breese said no, leaving Durham with seven to win off one ball...or six to tie. Breese clearly had more confidence in his ability to clear the ropes than Harmison's, and duly backed up that belief with deeds as he launched Tim Bresnan for six and secured Durham a point, which ultimately helped them top the group

Batsman of the month - Anthony McGrath
Yorkshire are keen to give Darren Gough the send-off he deserves with some silverware in the final year and are still in the race for two one-day finals. Their position in the Twenty20 is down to an impressive team effort from a side Gough has galvanised, but you still need a stand-out performer or two. That man with the bat has been McGrath, once and England international, who finished the group stage as the leading run-scorer with 392 runs at 56, more than 200 ahead of the next highest Jacques Rudolph.

Bowler of the month - Ian Salisbury
It isn't unfair to say that there have been times during his career, especially at international level, when Salisbury has struggled to land the ball. Last season, with injuries taking their toll, it appeared his professional days were numbered. But like Udal, another long-serving spinner who has found a new lease of life, Salisbury's move to Warwickshire has worked wonders. He finished the Twenty20 as the most economical bowler, conceding just 5.03 per over, and capped the group stage with 3 for 14. He will be key figure in the quarter-finals.

Youngster of the month - Dawid Malan
There must be something in water around NW8, because Middlesex keep churning out left-handers as thought they are going out of fashion. They can field a top five of southpaws with Billy Godleman and Eoin Morgan already showing they have bright futures and now there's another name to throw in. Dawid Malan, 20, was handed his chance during the Twenty20 and responded with 197 runs at 49 and a strike rate of 124 and ended as Middlesex's second-highest scorer behind Morgan. He carried his form into the Championship with a maiden century against Northamptonshire.

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo