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Surrey's Gareth Batty takes career-best Twenty20 figures as Surrey beat Middlesex at Lord's
In a game where rain looked, but failed, to ruin proceedings, Surrey comprehensively beat Middlesex by 28 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method in their Twenty20 clash at Lord’s.
The visitors made 149 for four from their 20 overs, with Middlesex struggling to 99 for eight off their restricted 16-over reply.
Surrey’s innings started poorly, with both openers quickly back inside the pavilion and before long they were in deeper trouble after Middlesex bowlers Gareth Berg (one for 34) and Smith (one for 29) both struck with their first deliveries, leaving their opponents struggling on 32 for four.
A heavy downpour of rain looked to pile further misery onto Surrey until Matthew Spriegel (53 not out) and Gary Wilson (54 not out) combined some good luck and big-hitting to form a record-equalling partnership of 117 for the fifth wicket, carrying Surrey to a very respectable 149 for four after 20 overs.
Middlesex’s innings seemed to start in the same vein as the visitors.
Star opener Joe Denly was dismissed for just two runs after a tame hook was easily caught by Spriegel off the bowling off Meaker (one for 12). Stirling (36), who hit three exquisite boundaries off Dirk Nannes, accompanied by Dawid Malan (26), looked to get Middlesex’s run chase going.
However, some inspired captaincy by Surrey captain and England prospect Rory Hamilton-Brown quickly brought a lively game to a rapid close. Indian left arm spinner Murali Kartik (nought for 20) strangled the Middlesex batsmen for runs, while right-arm spinner Gareth Batty (four for 13) tore apart the middle order.
Batty varied his pace to devastating effect on a pitch which does not traditionally suit the spinners, breaking Stirling and Malan’s dangerous-looking partnership before claiming the scalps of Berg (0) and Rogers (4).
Hamilton-Brown (two for five) quickly wrapped up proceedings and continued Surrey’s perfect start to their Twenty20 campaign.
Speaking afterwards, Hamilton-Brown said: “That partnership [between Sprigel and Wilson] is as good a partnership as you’ll see in Twenty20 cricket. It’s good to get two wins but we can definitely improve.”