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19/07/2024 14:00

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    Leicestershire's Impressive Victory Over Middlesex in Division Two Match
Leicestershire's Impressive Victory Over Middlesex in Division Two Match
Middlesex player. Source: espncricinfo.com

Leicestershire's Impressive Victory Over Middlesex in Division Two Match

Despite the absence of eight key players due to injury or unavailability, Leicestershire achieved their first Division Two victory of the season, handing Middlesex their first defeat, with a 123-run triumph in their Vitality County Championship match, which concluded within three days.

Leicestershire's Dominance and Middlesex's Chase

Middlesex bowled out for just 86 in their first innings on the opening day, faced an improbable target of 466 runs in the fourth innings—an achievement they had surpassed only twice in their history. Leicestershire, having posted 372 in their second innings, bowled out Middlesex for 342, sealing the win. The crucial phase came post-tea when Middlesex's top scorers, Leus Du Plooy (60) and Ryan Higgins (41), were dismissed in quick succession.

Despite a pitch that had mellowed since the earlier days, Middlesex captain Toby Roland-Jones displayed resilience, scoring an aggressive 33-ball 59, which included eight sixes, before he was the last man out. Du Plooy's dismissal by Ben Mike, caught by Ben Green, significantly influenced the game's outcome.

Key Performances: Green and Mike Shine

Somerset's loaned all-rounder Ben Green scored 77 in the second innings, complementing his career-best bowling figures of four for 28 in Middlesex's first innings. Green added two more wickets on the final day and took a crucial catch on the mid-wicket boundary, securing the win for Leicestershire.

Ben Mike contributed 41 runs in the second innings, following his career-best five for 22 in the first innings, finishing with eight wickets in the match after his three for 88 in the second innings.

Rain and Resilience: Leicestershire's Strategy

Resuming with a lead of 404 runs after rain cut short play on the second day, Leicestershire added 61 more runs in the 12 overs it took Middlesex to dismiss Mike and Green at the start of the final day. Mike, who had aggressively hit leg-spinner Luke Hollman for six and four in one over, was caught at long-on after an 89-run partnership for the ninth wicket. Green, managing to keep last man Matt Salisbury off strike, added six more boundaries before being caught at short third man.

Middlesex's Chase: An Uphill Battle

With at least 186 overs left in the match, Middlesex needed a modest 2.5 runs per over. Openers Mark Stoneman and Sam Robson started aggressively, doubling the required rate. However, both were dismissed within the first 11 overs—Robson edging behind off Mike for two and Stoneman, who survived a tough chance at third slip, caught at second slip off Green for 30.

Du Plooy and Max Holden managed to survive until lunch at 74 for two but adopted a cautious approach thereafter. By tea, Middlesex was at 167 for three, needing 299 more runs. Holden's dismissal, leg before to an inswinger from Salisbury, was the only casualty of the afternoon session.

Final Session: Leicestershire Seals the Win

The final session saw key wickets falling in Leicestershire's favor. Du Plooy, trying to evade a bouncer from Mike, was caught at backward point, ending a crucial 78-run partnership. Higgins, dropped earlier by Ben Cox, was soon dismissed by Salisbury, who was promptly caught by the Leicestershire wicketkeeper.

Josh De Caires, despite a shaky innings, eventually fell to Louis Kimber's off-spin for 36. Green, with the new ball, bowled Luke Hollman for 25, and Mike picked up his eighth wicket by trapping Henry Brookes leg before. Roland-Jones, the Middlesex captain, vented his frustration with a defiant 59 before being the last man out, concluding the match.

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