On a sunny summer evening at the Oval, it was Middlesex who emerged as the inaugural winners of the Pemberton Greenish Cup after Fran Wilson’s 46 saw them reach a total of 126-7 in their 20 overs.
Surrey struggled to achieve the required rate of just above 6 an over from the outset, with no runs coming off the bat until a single from Kirstie White in the third over.
And it took until the 7th over for their first boundary, as Holly Knight drove the ball through mid-on. She was dismissed two balls later, however, holing out to Izzy Westbury at cover off the bowling of Danni Warren, leaving them 29-1.
There was hope for Surrey yet, with wickets in hand, but the pressure mounted after Alex Hartley bowled two successive maidens. With the required run rate up to 10, White attempted to hit out against Westbury’s off-spin, but sent the ball into the hands of Naomi Dattani at mid-wicket and was out for 12.
It was a spectacular low diving catch, symptomatic of Middlesex’s sharp performance in the field, which considerably restricted the ability of their opponents to score freely throughout the innings. Even England’s Nat Sciver did not look able to up the rate, hitting just 9 off 12 balls before being clean bowled by Sophia Dunkley in the 14th over. The highlight for Surrey was a swift 34* (27 balls) from Bryony Smith, but it came too late to make a difference.
Surrey eventually finished on 100-4, falling 27 runs short of their target.
Earlier, Middlesex had been left reeling at 4-2 in the third over, after Rachel Candy clean bowled Dunkley for a duck with just the second ball of the game, then trapped Catherine Dalton lbw for 2.
But Natasha Miles fought back for Middlesex, hitting three boundaries off the next over before being bowled by Surrey’s captain Cecily Scutt for 15.
Anna Nicholls (28) then provided good support for Wilson as the pair helped Middlesex accelerate with a 57-run partnership. The runs came mainly in singles at first, but Wilson’s fluency improved throughout and she finished with four boundaries to her name.
She eventually departed in the final over, run out at the striker’s end as she and Dattani (16*) attempted to force through yet another single.
After Middlesex celebrated their victory with champagne on the outfield, captain Izzy Westbury told CRICKETher:
“I feel elated. After those first 3 overs I definitely didn’t think we’d win it! But we played as a team and everybody pulled through.
It’s given us a lot of confidence going into our next round of County Championship matches this weekend.”
Meanwhile Surrey, who are currently top of the County Championship, will be hoping for revenge in their Championship game against Middlesex at Reeds School on Sunday.