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Bailey, Higgins star in Middlesex romp

Middlesex 181 for 6 (Bailey 76, Simpson 54, Wheal 3-43) beat Hampshire 138 (Higgins 5-13) by 43 runs
Scorecard

George Bailey fired a career-best Twenty20 score of 76 to boost Middlesex's hopes of a home NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final, as they thrashed bottom-placed Hampshire by 43 runs.

Overseas star Bailey was brilliantly partnered by John Simpson in a perfectly paced fourth wicket stand of 114. Ryan Higgins then took 5 for 13 - having only taken his maiden T20 wicket on Thursday evening - to make sure Hampshire's chase never got going and give Middlesex back-to-back wins in the competition.

Middlesex, after winning the toss and batting, were guided to 182 thanks in the main to a well-paced partnership between Bailey and Simpson.

Dawid Malan, on the back of a record, unbeaten 185 for England Lions, was caught and bowled by Ryan McLaren. England one-day skipper Eoin Morgan fell soon after with Liam Dawson taking the catch at mid-on, before Paul Stirling was bowled by Brad Wheal to end the Powerplay 40 for 3.

But that kick-started the mammoth stand between Bailey and Simpson, who never looked in trouble, never appeared to need to play the big shots.

Former Australia T20 captain Bailey, following a match-winning 55 in the London derby on Thursday night, was the first to reach fifty, from 38 balls. Wicketkeeper Simpson quickly followed to the milestone in a slightly quicker 32 deliveries, helped by a trio of maximums.

The partnership stretched from the seventh over to the 19th, when Simpson picked out Joe Weatherley on the midwicket rope. James Franklin and former Hampshire man Bailey, who passed his previous best Twenty20 score of 71, both departed before the close - Middlesex scoring 181 for 6.

In a reply which never got going, Adam Wheater struggled to time the ball and his tortured spell was ended when he skied one to Malan, Tom Alsop copied his fellow opener's style four balls later.

Hampshire captain Sean Ervine and England international Dawson ticked along with a promising 40 stand in five overs. But the hosts were stunted again when Dawson chipped to Lions teammate Malan at short extra cover before Shahid Afridi teed up to James Fuller at deep square leg.

Ervine was progressing nicely with a rapid 36 before Higgins' slower ball pegged his middle stump back. Morgan managed to keep himself inside the boundary to hold on to Weatherley's slog and the steady flow of wickets continued next ball when McLaren reverse swept to Bailey, off Higgins.

Lewis McManus nicked off, Brad Taylor mistimed to short third man and Wheal was castled, with Hampshire losing their final five wickets in just 25 balls.