Lewis heroics defeat Middlesex
Gloucestershire 302 for 7 beat Middlesex 299 for 8 by three wickets
Jon Lewis smashed 20 off the last over of the game from Tim Murtagh to seal a remarkable three-wicket victory for Gloucestershire over Middlesex in the Clydesdale Bank 40.
Owais Shah (111) and John Simpson (82) led Middlesex to an imposing 299 for 8 but Gloucestershire were kept in the hunt by Steve Snell (95) and Chris Taylor (85), who plundered 158 in 18 overs for the fifth wicket.
Pedro Collins dismissed Snell and Taylor in the 37th over and then conceded just four runs off the 39th over. But Lewis dramatically won it for Gloucestershire with a ball to spare as he hit Murtagh for a four and two sixes in the last over.
Gloucestershire gave a debut to all-rounder Ed Young, just recruited from Oxford Brookes University, and he took a catch at deep square leg in the third over to dismiss Scott Newman off Lewis. That proved to be Gloucestershire's last success for 22 overs as Simpson and Shah peppered the boundary boards in a partnership that realised 148 runs.
Simpson had struck nine fours and two sixes in his 81-ball innings when he holed out to Will Porterfield at long-on off Anthony Ireland. Dawid Malan and Neil Dexter were both run out cheaply before Shah and Gareth Berg plundered 58 for the fifth wicket.
Shah reached his 85-ball century with a single to mid-wicket off Alex Gidman and he then swept the Gloucestershire captain for six. The Middlesex innings faltered slightly with the loss of four wickets in four consecutive overs. Shah was first to go when he was bowled by a full-length Steve Kirby delivery, having hit 10 fours and three sixes in his superb innings.
Lewis, James Franklin and Richard Dawson accounted for Tom Smith, Berg and Toby Roland-Jones respectively, but Middlesex still managed to get within one run of 300 thanks to a late cameo from Shaun Udal. The veteran off-spinner cracked an unbeaten 33 from 13 balls, which included 19 off the final over.
Gloucestershire's chase got off to a poor start as Murtagh had Porterfield caught behind and Franklin taken at mid-off in the opening three overs.
It became 41 for 3 when Gidman skied a pull off Roland-Jones to Udal at mid-off, but Hamish Marshall and Taylor re-established the innings with a stand of 59 in nine overs. Smith claimed the wicket of Marshall, caught at long-on by Newman, and that brought Snell to the middle.
The wicketkeeper dramatically revived Gloucestershire's hopes by sweeping Dexter for two sixes and pulling another over mid-wicket off Udal. His half-century came from just 33 deliveries and, in the same over from Dexter, Taylor reached his 50-ball fifty.
A further 90 were required from the last 10 overs and the equation then came down to 49 off five. Middlesex appeared to have taken control again when Collins had Taylor caught at square leg and bowled Snell in the space of three balls.
But Dawson hit an unbeaten 17 from eight balls and Lewis' heroics - hitting 22 runs in just eight balls - clinched an amazing win for the hosts.