Middlesex beat Glamorgan by six wickets with Toby Roland-Jones again being a thorn in the Welsh county’s side as he took 4/22 in their encounter in the Vitality Blast at Radlett.
“Compare and contrast the characteristics of the inner city with those of the rural-urban fringe.” – a very common question on a GCSE Geography exam paper and, if adapted for the current Glamorgan cricketers, they could suggest some of the demographic differences having played on Friday evening in front of 16,000 people amongst the bricks and mortar of South London before heading today to the leafy and verdant idylls of Hertfordshire with this afternoon’s match taking place in front of 2,000 or so spectators at the less noisy and tree-lined club ground in Radlett.
The Welsh county made one change to their line-up from the defeat against Surrey as Andrew Salter replaced Joe Cooke, with David Lloyd and Sam Northeast opening the innings. Lloyd set the tone by sweeping the first ball from Chris Green, the Australian spinner, for six before adding another cover-driven four later in the over, but the Glamorgan captain was bowled next over by Toby Roland-Jones – Glamorgan’s nemesis from their Championship encounter with Middlesex at Cardiff a few weeks ago.
Marnus Labuschagne was soon into his stride square-cutting Martin Andersson for four but the all-rounder responded by removing Northeast who spliced a rising delivery into the hands of Max Holden at backward point. Kiran Carlson announced his arrival with a square-driven four against Roland-Jones, before Labuschagne pulled Blake Cullen for four followed by an audacious scoop to the ropes at fine-leg before another four from a pull to the next ball and a scythed four through point as 18 came from the over as Glamorgan ended the powerplay on 51/2.
Labuschagne then lofted Green high over long-on for six but he departed next over as he miscued a drive against the leg-spin of Luke Hollman into Andersson’s hands at backward point. Chris Cooke pulled his first ball for four but next over Carlson scythed Cullen into Green’s hands on the extra-cover boundary. With Dan Douthwaite as his new partner, Cooke deftly cut Hollman to the ropes as Glamorgan reached the 100-mark in the 12th over.
But Thilan Walallawita returned and the left-arm spinner removed Cooke who was superbly caught by a diving Max Holden at deep mid-wicket as the former captain unfurled a fierce pull. 104/5 then became 105/6 as the Sri Lankan-born spinner trapped Douthwaite leg before. James Weighell began with a lusty on-drive for six against Andersson but next over Walallawita bowled Neser. Weighell responded by driving Cullen over long-off for six before pulling Andersson for six.
The frugal Roland-Jones returned for his last two overs and removed Salter who holed out at short third-man, before Prem Sisodiya cover-drove and pulled him for fours. Weighell holed out at long-on from the penultimate ball before Hogan was caught at cow corner off the final ball as Roland-Jones claimed his fourth wicket with Glamorgan 168 all out.
The home side made a turbo-charged start as Eskinazi emulated Lloyd by swatting the first ball of the innings from Hogan for six before Holden square-cut Neser to the ropes followed by a huge six over mid-wicket and a firm on-drive for four. Holden then flicked Hogan to fine-leg for another boundary before harpooning Salter over long-on for six. Eskinazi then opened his shoulders to loft Weighell to long-on for four before clipping the next ball to the boards at fine-leg.
Holden struck another four as he flayed Weighell to third man before Eskinazi glanced Neser to long-leg as Middlesex ended the powerplays on 62/0. The home captain then square-cut Sisodiya for four before Holden reverse-swept him for four. However, Sisodiya made amends as he bowled Holden as he attempted to pull a slower ball. Joe Cracknell joined his captain and swept Sisodiya for six into the car park before lofting Salter over long-on for another maximum. The off-spinner however responded by deceiving Eskinazi in the flight as he chipped a ball back into his hands.
With Eoin Morgan having a slight twinge, 92/2 saw Luke Hollman make his way to the middle with Middlesex needing 77 off 61 balls and he also swept a six against Sisodiya, but next ball Carlson took a fine diving catch at short mid-wicket as John Simpson joined Cracknell and quietly worked the ball around as the tempo dropped with the equation becoming 52 from 40 balls. Simpson then opened his shoulder to strike Hogan for successive fours before edging the seamer into Cooke’s gloves as Middlesex slipped to 121/4.
Andersson joined Cracknell who pulled Weighell for six before his new partner drilled a four through mid-off followed by a six to fine-leg as the task became 29 from 30 balls. Cracknell then on-drove Salter for four before repeating the stroke against Labuschagne, followed by a six into the Radlett pavilion. Labuschagne responded by bowling Cracknell with Green replacing him with 8 needed from 18 balls.
After two from Andersson, he lofted Neser to long-on where Hogan took a fine running catch. Roland-Jones and Green then garnered the required runs with the former hitting the winning runs as Middlesex maintained their unbeaten record in all formats as they won with six balls to spare.