Match Report: Middlesex Bowlers Shine In Berkshire / Surrey T20s

Middlesex’s bowlers were the story of the day at Merchant Taylors’ in their T20 triple-header with Berkshire and Surrey. Alex Hartley took 4/14 as Berkshire were bowled out for 70 in the first match; while in the final game, Australian Julie Hunter took 4/6 as Surrey were knocked-over for just 25. In the day’s other encounter, an unbeaten half century from Alex Rogers ensured Berkshire beat Surrey.

Middlesex v Berkshire

Having won the toss against Middlesex, Berkshire captain Lissy Macleod may soon have been regretting electing to bat, as spinner Alex Hartley ripped through the Beavers’ top order. Only 3 Berkshire batsmen made it to double-figures; and it was left to No. 9 Fi Morris to drag them to a hint of respectability as she top-scored with 15.

Chasing 71 to win, Middlesex lost Sophia Dunkley early, but were carried to an easy victory with no real alarms by Tash Miles(25*) and Cath Dalton (35*), as Berkshire opted largely for defence over attack – a justifiable decision in theory, but one which meant that in practice their best bowler (Daisy Gardner) bowled just the one over right at the end, by which time it was all over bar the shouting.

Berkshire v Surrey

On what was (later events notwithstanding) really quite a good pitch, Surrey skipper Cecily Scutt also chose to bat when she won the toss in Game 2. Surrey made it to the 10-over mark at 45/1 before Kirstie White (35) was brilliantly run out by a direct hit from Emily Gerke at midwicket, sparking a mini-collapse before Hannah Jones (22*) and New Zealander Rachel Candy (21*) rebuilt – taking Surrey to 106 at the turn.

In reply, Berkshire soon lost young opener Anna Harris for a duck and Lissy Macleod for a typically brisk-and-brusque 9; but Alex Rogers (59*) and Crinny Hall (41) then conspired to take the game away from Surrey. Rogers in particular now seems to have well and truly shaken-off her early season slump, passing 50 for the second time in the T20 campaign, as Berkshire made the runs with an over to spare.

Speaking to CRICKETher afterwards, Rogers admitted that Berkshire had maybe tried too hard to “hit” runs in the first game, rather than working the singles; but told us that a change of tactics was what had worked for them in the second match, as well as paying tribute to the Australian Hall, who has had to sit out so much of the season due to Alex Blackwell occupying the “overseas” place in the Berkshire line-up.

Rogers said:

“We stepped up our game… 100 was a good score, but me and Crinny ran so well between the wickets – she brings that to the team – she knows exactly when you can get a single and when you can get a two; and she keeps you level-headed in the breaks too – I like to hit fours, but she tells me to calm down and go for the singles.”

It was good advice, which served her and her team well.

Middlesex v Surrey

In the day’s final encounter, Middlesex captain Izzy Westbury opted to bowl; and it was the Meatballs’ new Aussie import – seamer Julie Hunter – who did the damage this time, taking 4/6 largely by employing the same tactics that her compatriots did in the recent Women’s Ashes ODIs – keeping it full and straight! Alex Hartley then added two more to her day’s haul, as Surrey were bowled out for just 25 off 13 overs.

Chasing such a low total, Middlesex’s usually lively batting was oddly subdued for the 6 overs it took them to reach their target for the loss of 1 wicket – Dunkley bowled by Scutt for 11.

Nevertheless, the smiles were clearly theirs at the end of the day, and very much deserved as they got their campaign back on track after a disappointing pair of losses in the last round.