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    Middlesex Triumphs Over Kent in a Nail-Biting Vitality Blast Finish
Middlesex Triumphs Over Kent in a Nail-Biting Vitality Blast Finish
Ryan Higgins. Source: thecricketer.com

Middlesex Triumphs Over Kent in a Nail-Biting Vitality Blast Finish

Middlesex secured a thrilling four-wicket victory against Kent Spitfires in the Vitality Blast match at Canterbury, marked by a dramatic fightback in the field. The match culminated with Luke Hollman striking a decisive six off Matt Parkinson, with four balls to spare. This came after notable contributions from Ryan Higgins, who scored 44 off 29 balls, and Stephen Eskinazi, who added 40 runs.

Chasing 178 for 6, Middlesex overcame an initial setback to claim the win, despite earlier fears of facing a target exceeding 200 runs. Kent's innings, spearheaded by Daniel Bell-Drummond's 60 from 38 balls, saw them amass 118 runs in the first 11 overs. However, Kent's momentum stalled, ending their innings at 173 for 8. Hollman’s effective bowling yielded 2 for 18, complemented by Tom Helm's 2 for 24, significantly curbing Kent's total.

Middlesex chose to field first, and Helm struck early, dismissing Zak Crawley for four as he hit the third ball of the innings straight to Martin Andersson at extra cover. Blake Cullen soon bowled Tawanda Muyeye for 12, sending his leg stump flying. Bell-Drummond, partnering with Marcus O'Riordan, counterattacked with a brisk 66-run partnership from 29 balls. However, Higgins trapped O'Riordan lbw for 28, and Sam Billings was clean bowled for 10 by Hollman while attempting a reverse sweep.

Kent's scoring rate plummeted after Bell-Drummond was caught by Leus du Plooy off Hollman. Joey Evison was bowled by Josh de Caires for four, and Kent failed to hit a boundary between overs 15 and 17. Although they managed 15 runs in the 18th over, the last two overs yielded just 10. Joe Denly skied Helm to Eskinazi for 28, and Beyers Swanepoel was caught by the same fielder for eight after slashing at Henry Brookes.

Kent reverted to their successful 2021 strategy by giving the ball to Denly, who took his 50th T20 wicket, trapping Andersson lbw for a five-ball duck. Nonetheless, Middlesex rallied once more. Eskinazi hit the match’s first sixes and appeared well-placed until he tried to ramp Swanepoel and was bowled. Kent's hopes were briefly revived when Xavier Bartlett dismissed Higgins at the start of the 13th over and uprooted du Plooy's off stump for 18 just three balls later. Max Holden then hit successive fours off Grant Stewart but was caught attempting a ramp shot, out for 17.

Hollman calmed any remaining nerves by hitting Parkinson for a six and a four in the 17th over. Jack Davies then struck Bartlett’s first ball of the 18th over for a six over cow corner. Although Davies was caught by Evison off Bartlett for 23, Middlesex needed only 11 runs off the final two overs with four wickets in hand. De Caires drove Swanepoel straight for four, putting Middlesex within striking distance. With three runs required off the last six balls, Hollman sealed the victory by launching Parkinson over cow corner for six.


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