Hampshire defy Udal efforts
Momentum is a key factor with the crunch stage of the Twenty20 Cup nearing and Middlesex are just threatening to lose theirs at the wrong time
Hampshire 133 for 8 (Murtagh 3-15) beat Middlesex 127 for 7 (Udal 40*, Mascarenhas 3-12, Hayward 3-22) by six runs
Momentum is a key factor with the crunch stage of the Twenty20 Cup nearing and Middlesex are just threatening to lose theirs at the wrong time. After five straight victories, the six-run defeat against Hampshire at Richmond was their second in three days. Dimitri Mascarenhas bagged 3 for 12, after being released by England, to outshine a fantastic all-round display by Shaun Udal against his former team-mates
For a brief moment at the end it looked as Udal might foil Hampshire for the second in the tournament, but 20 off the final over proved too tough an ask despite him launching consecutive balls from Ian Harvey for four and six. When these two sides met earlier in the competition Udal took the Man-of-the-Match award for his three wickets, but he couldn't complete the double as Hampshire took their revenge and kept themselves in the hunt for the quarter-finals.
There was a bit of needle between Udal and his former club. He'd been delighted to bowl Mascarenhas during the first innings and Mascarenhas later showed his frustration when an lbw was turned down. Udal then took a painful blow on the wrist from an errant throw from Chris Benham, although any bad feeling was short-lived and handshakes were soon being shared.
Udal hit the ball as cleanly as anyone on a day when the batsman struggled to find the rope, despite the enticing boundaries at Old Deer Park. He launched four sixes in his 20-ball innings, one of which flew over the press tent and into the hedge, requiring Billy Taylor to be given a leg-up by Sean Ervine to retrieve it. Hampshire's teamwork was in good order on and off the field.
Their 133 appeared a very chaseable total for Middlesex, but Nantie Hayward did the early damage with a rapid spell. He knocked back Billy Godleman's off stump, then next ball did the same to Eoin Morgan's middle peg, via a thin inside-edge. Andrew Strauss has been clocking up more miles than runs recently as a stand-by for England's one-day squad, and produced a curious innings where he tried (and failed) three times to scoop Taylor over the wicketkeeper's head.
Taylor responded with a Twenty20 rarity - the maiden - before Strauss's frustrations got the better of him when he gave himself room to Hayward and paid the price. The middle order tried to hit their way out of trouble with little success against Mascarenhas. Tyron Henderson fell in slightly unlucky circumstances when the ball rebounded off Pothas onto the stumps, but overall it was a poor chase by Middlesex, who appeared to be in two minds about how to go about it.
However, it wasn't a day where the batsmen ever really fired. Hampshire were given a good base by Harvey and Michael Lumb, but once Henderson broke through at the end of the Powerplay wickets fell regularly. Harvey chipped a catch back to Murali Kartik when a ball seemed to stop on him and Ervine was run out by a sharp piece of work by Ben Scott.
Michael Carberry was becalmed and spent 14 overs in the middle without ever getting out of second gear. Largely that was down to Udal, who bowled his four overs for just 11, the joint second most economical four-over spell of the season. At that point he would have been confident of making Hampshire more regretful that they let him go, but it didn't quite work out that way.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo