Iain O'Brien bowls Middlesex to comfortable win
Middlesex 148 for 3 beat Northamptonshire 146 by seven wickets
Former New Zealand international Iain O'Brien ensured Middlesex got their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign off to a winning start by ripping through Northamptonshire in a low-scoring game.
The 33-year-old seamer claimed figures of 4 for 41 inside seven overs at Wantage Road to help skittle out the Steelbacks for a mediocre total of 146.
Only David Sales offered any resistance hitting a 75-ball 56 as Middlesex set about making up for Saturday's thrilling County Championship loss between the two sides. Panthers pair Gareth Berg and Dawid Malan made light work of the chase with unbeaten scores of 43 and 31 respectively to seal a seven-wicket victory inside 33 overs.
Steelbacks skipper Nicky Boje won the toss and chose to bat, but lost both of his openers in the second over. O'Brien was on hand to first remove Stephen Peters leg before for five before snaring Alex Wakely for four with the final ball.
He had his third victim when South African Andrew Hall went cheaply for 18 after smashing O'Brien straight to Berg at extra cover leaving Northamptonshire reeling at 31 for 3.
Rob White made 11 before he edged Berg to wicketkeeper John Simpson and the hosts problems deepened when captain Boje was cleaned up by Tom Smith for 12. Shaun Udal joined the attack in the 22nd over and he immediately took two wickets - the first James Middlebrook stumped by Simpson for just two on his Northamptonshire debut.
Paul Harrison then faced three balls without scoring before he was caught by Malan at slip off Udal. Sales hit 56 before he launched Toby Roland-Jones to Tim Murtagh at fine leg. Roland-Jones then caught David Willey (13) at long-off off Murtagh before O'Brien wrapped up the Steelbacks' innings by bowling Lee Daggett (5).
Chasing 147, the Panthers lost Scott Newman for 19 in the fifth over when he edged to wicketkeeper Harrison off the bowling of Daggett. England captain Andrew Strauss hit 20 but went in the same fashion as Newman, this time to David Lucas.
Josh Davey hit 15 before his middle stump was removed by Middlebrook during his first over as Northamptonshire sought to bring down Middlesex's run-rate. But with the score 63 for 3 after less than 15 overs Malan and Berg eased the visitors to victory with a fourth-wicket stand of 85.