Middlesex Come Out On Top in T20 Triple-Header

Georgia Isaac reports from Edmonton CC

Edmonton CC in London provided the setting for three exciting games of T20 cricket, and considering play began in misty rain it was good that the teams lost only eight overs in the day. For Middlesex, it was an excellent all-round performance as they beat reigning champions Nottinghamshire by 9 wickets, then followed this up with a 10-wicket win over Somerset.

Middlesex captain Izzy Westbury was clearly thrilled with the team’s winning performances. “Our squad of 15 is all pushing for places in the first eleven, and that’s the beauty of Middlesex. There are no superstars, but we’ve got a very good team.”

The first match was between Middlesex and Nottinghamshire. As Notts won the T20 competition last year and have three England internationals in their side, they were always going to be tough opponents. Danni Wyatt was in an explosive mood and hit 89 off only 54 deliveries including eight 4s and two 6s. She gave chances, but the ball was damp, fielders struggled to hold it, and there is always extra pressure when attempting to take the wicket of an international.

Wyatt dominated an opening stand of 86 with captain Sonia Odedra, who was bowled by Izzy Westbury for 25 off 22, including four 4s. Soon afterwards, the persistent drizzle became rain and the players were taken off. Although there was only a short delay, with three fixtures needing to be completed in a day, overs are quickly lost. Each innings was reduced to 16 overs, which meant Notts had just five overs to build on the Wyatt platform.

A second wicket soon fell as Sophia Dunkley had Georgie Boyce stumped for eight, with the score on 132. Ria Raval then took the wickets of England pair Wyatt (89) and Jenny Gunn (0), and with one run added by Abbey Hawkins, Nottinghamshire ended their 16 overs on 136-4.

It was going to be a challenging chase for Middlesex as 136 is a good score after 20 overs and even more impressive after just 16, particularly when the overs were lost not from the start, but midway through the innings. The hosts also lacked one of their top-order batsmen – Cath Dalton – who had injured her ankle at training on Friday night.

Dunkley and Tash Miles opened the batting against Odedra’s pace and Wyatt’s spin. Middlesex attacked from the start, with crisp square drives a feature of Dunkley’s unbeaten 66 off only 46 balls. Miles also batted well, but fell short of a half-century when caught by Zoe Richards off the bowling of Rebecca Widdowson for 42, including five 4s and a 6. Miles fell at 94; Fran Wilson joined Dunkley and they saw Middlesex to an impressive nine-wicket win in 14 overs.

After the game, Sophia Dunkley said that Middlesex had approached the run chase positively throughout. “Tash [Miles] and I normally go out and play quite freely anyway, so it was a good chance to play our natural game, and we pulled it off.”

The second match saw Nottinghamshire face Somerset. Notts again batted first and Wyatt continued her superb form, scoring a boundary-filled 103. Her ability to score all round the wicket again highlighted her quality, and showed she is pushing for a spot in the Ashes squad. Although dropped eight times across the two games, she refused to change her aggressive style of batting. Nottinghamshire completed their innings on 142.

South African-batsman Lizelle Lee and Gwenan Davies opened for Somerset. Lee made a century in her previous county game and is in good form for Bath CC, so hers was the key wicket. She played an entertaining innings, striking the ball powerfully and forming a solid partnership with Anya Shrubsole worth 61 before the England fast bowler was caught by Jenny Gunn off Amy Gauvrit for 27.

This left Somerset on 89-3 after 15 overs, almost completely reliant on Lee if they were to stand a chance of victory. But she was dismissed by Rebecca Widowson for 77, having scored nearly two-thirds of her runs in boundaries, as she took a big swing and was caught by Gauvrit. Somerset fell short by 17 runs, finishing on 125-5.

The final match of the day was between Middlesex and Somerset. Westbury won the toss for the second time and decided to stick with the team’s winning formula by fielding first. Unlike the first match, bowling proved decisive. As number three Fran Wilson is on loan from Somerset, she was not able to play this match, and Danni Warren was brought into the side.

Having watched some of the second match, the team was aware that Lee remained in good form, and that she and captain Anya Shrubsole would probably hold the key to Somerset’s ability to post a challenging total. Middlesex got the wicket they desired as Dattani had Lee caught behind by India Whitty, after a strangled shot down the leg-side, for 2.

Generally Middlesex’s bowling and fielding was of a much higher standard in this match, and wickets fell fairly steadily, with Warren (3-6) picking up three including England Academy’s Sophie Luff, fresh from her 109* in the last round of county matches. Somerset fought until the 16th over when Westbury took the final wicket, and they were all out for just 48.

Once again Sophia Dunkley and Tash Miles proved a successful opening partnership for the hosts. Although Somerset’s opening bowlers Shrubsole and Lee attacked until the end, they simply did not have a high enough total to defend, and found themselves congratulating Middlesex on their 10-wicket win after only 7.5 overs.

Georgia blogs about cricket regularly at https://georgiacricket.wordpress.com.

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