In the third annual London Cup fixture between Middlesex and Surrey, this year held at Radlett CC, Middlesex made it 3 from 3 after Natasha Miles hit a skilful half-century in her captaincy debut.
Having put 150 on the board Middlesex must have been reasonably confident of the win; but the game came right down to the wire, with Middlesex overseas star Holly Huddleston ultimately holding her nerve bowling the final over to see her side home by a mere 3 runs.
Surrey had won the toss and put Middlesex in but, after Naomi Dattani went early (caught behind for 0 in the third over), they let things slide in the field with some rather erratic bowling – including a total of 18 wides.
Beth Morgan (40 off 34 balls) and her captain took full advantage, sharing an 89-run partnership before Morgan was finally caught at cover in the 12th over. Cath Dalton then joined the party with a quickfire 21 off 13 balls. Miles herself was a mere two balls away from carrying her bat, but was stumped off the penultimate ball of the innings, finishing with 54 runs to her name (49 balls).
Surrey needed to bat at almost 8 an over to emerge victorious, which seemed unlikely until two particularly wayward overs from Dalton and Gayatri Gole, which went for 19 and 18 runs respectively, leaving Surrey 57-1 after 7 overs. From there on in they kept up there or thereabouts with the required rate, as Sophie Pout (29), Bryony Smith (16), Hannah Jones (27) and Aylish Cranstone (31) chipped in with vital runs – Smith, Jones and Cranstone all finishing with strike rates well above 100. Cranstone’s innings was particularly impressive as she deftly steered the ball into the gaps on both sides of the wicket.
Jones was the last of the four to fall, as Milly Pope took a good low catch at fine third man to send her off in the 17th over. By then Surrey required 28 runs off the last 20 balls – but the reintroduction of the fiery Huddleston to bowl out her remaining 2 overs just about prevented them from scrambling over the line.
Miles, who was named Player of the Match, told CRICKETher after the game that she had enjoyed both the match itself and the experience of captaining her side:
“It did get quite nerve racking but this is the cricket we train and play for. I loved every minute of it!
The captaincy is a challenge. I haven’t done it in a long time so I’m just trying to get my bearings again. The girls are just so great to work with, though – Beth batted brilliantly. Cath came in and threw her hands through the ball and really connected well.
It was really fun to see us be so positive after our start to the season [they lost both of their opening fixtures in the County Championship], and hopefully we’re going to take this success forward.”