Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Malan thrives in the rain as McCullum bows out at Lord's

Middlesex 92 for 3 (Malan 53*) beat Somerset 88 for 6 (Fuller 2-18) - 9 overs a side

Until last Thursday, when Sussex came to town, Middlesex had never had a Twenty20 at Lord's in which the weather had prevented a ball being bowled. For much of this Thursday, it looked as though they would be treated to two in as many games. Lord's, fascinatingly, were not insured for the washout. With each fixture costing some £100,000 to stage, those refunds burned even deep MCC pockets.

These, of course, were to be Brendon McCullum's only two games at Lord's. This place had waited long enough to see McCullum in Middlesex colours. Since arriving, he has given cricket's most notable speech of the year - at this very ground, and played plenty of shots in the process. He has rung the five-minute bell to kick off the Saturday of a Test match. He has played at two outgrounds - Radlett and Merchant Taylor's - and even appeared across town at The Oval, smiting at least one vast six at each.

When the clouds did eventually part - with another hearty crowd of 10,000 in attendance - to allow a nine-over thrash, McCullum's opening partner Dawid Malan gave the game away, saying: "I think with McCullum playing, the MCC were pretty keen to get us on." No one was up for another round of refunds. Everyone wanted to watch McCullum bat.

Few appreciate the effort it takes just to get McCullum on a cricket field these days. His back is in pieces, and requires as much as three hours with a physiotherapist before playing - for the first time ever, Middlesex's physio has been travelling to away games to get him up and running. Recently, McCullum was able to do little more than smile when Lord's filmed a rather nice little video in which Middlesex players tried to replicate Albert Trott's achievement - unsurpassed since 1899 - of smiting a ball over the Pavilion. His back prevented him having a go.

The Malan and McCullum partnership took 21 from Tim Groenewald's opening over, all but three of them the captain's, including a magical flick to midwicket for six off his first ball and a drive over extra cover for six more. Thereafter, though, things became sticky, and they did not double those 21 until the penultimate ball of the sixth over, and they had lost three wickets by then. McCullum was caught behind, a ball after smiting Lewis Gregory through the covers for four. The following two overs featured a wicket each, with Paul Stirling caught well at cow off Max Waller, and James Franklin bowled without scoring by Roloef van der Merwe.

John Simpson joined Malan to bookend the innings. Simpson hooked a six, cracked a four down the ground then headed to wide midwicket for six more. In the meantime, Malan had contented himself with singles until launching into Jamie Overton's final over, driving down the ground for six, then taking four more with the deftest, classiest ramp, and - from the final ball - going inside-out over extra cover for six, which brought up his 50 from 28 balls and, more importantly, took Middlesex past 90, which looked par.

Allenby flew out of the blocks, pulling his first ball - from Steven Finn - to midwicket for six, before James Fuller did him for pace and he miscued into the offside and was caught. Two balls later, Finn's quite brilliant catch - running 30 metres to his right at long-on and diving - did for Johan Myburgh. Next ball, bowled by James Franklin, Mahela Jayawardene drove hard and uppish through point, where Paul Stirling dived to his right and took another outstanding catch.

There were to be cameos, but little more, from Somerset. The following over Nathan Sowter, a gangly legspinner with a deep box of tricks, bowled Peter Trego with his googly, and another fine catch - McCullum, straight, this time - sent Lewis Gregory on his way. Van der Merwe held Middlesex up, with a marvellous ramped four and a brutal cover-driven six off Fuller.

With 13 required off the last, bowled by Finn, Jamie Overton was caught at long on - that man McCullum again - before van der Merwe appeared to be caught and bowled next ball, only for the delivery to be adjudged a waist-high no-ball and a free hit - scrambled for two - given. With six needed from two, Finn conceded just one.

Off, then, McCullum trots from Lord's, with a final appearance of the season in Canterbury to come - he says he wants to come back next year, and is already leaving behind a team batting and fielding in his image. It is only a shame he could not stay longer, and we all know why that is.

Somerset 2nd innings Partnerships

1st29JG MyburghJ Allenby
2nd1PD TregoJG Myburgh
3rd0DPMD JayawardenePD Trego
4th18PD TregoL Gregory
5th16RE van der MerweL Gregory
6th18RE van der MerweJ Overton
7th6RE van der MerweC Overton