T20 CUP: Berkshire v Middlesex v Surrey

On a warm day that threatened showers at North Maidenhead Cricket Club, Surrey fought hard to remain out of the T20 Cup relegation zone, coming away with two wins, while home team Berkshire struggled to stay in contention.

Berkshire v Middlesex

In the first game of the day Middlesex beat Berkshire easily by 56 runs after Beth Morgan starred with the bat, scoring 53.

Berkshire, having won the toss and chosen to field, had made early inroads thanks to some excellent fielding – a great low catch by Ashley Muttitt at midwicket sending Tash Miles packing in the third over of the day, with fellow opener Naomi Dattani falling two overs later for 14, run out by a direct hit from Emily Cunningham at mid on.

But that brought Morgan to the crease, and she was not slow to get going, hitting Berkshire captain Lissy Macleod’s two overs for 10 and 11 runs respectively. By the time she was dismissed in the 20th over, driving a ball of Emma Walker’s straight to Macleod at mid on, she had hit 53 off 41 balls – the only player to finish with a strike rate of over 100. Her partnership of 42 with Amara Carr for the 5th wicket formed the backbone of the Middlesex innings, and ensured they finished on 140-7.

It was always going to be a tough ask for Berkshire to chase down the runs, and they did not help themselves, with two suicidal run outs in the first three overs. Carla Rudd (25) was the only Berkshire batsman to really look comfortable at the crease, but the runs were slow to come – Berkshire not reaching 50 until the 14th over – and, with Middlesex’s Sophia Dunkley (3-7) mopping up the tail, the home side ultimately fell way short of their target.

Middlesex v Surrey

An all-round performance from Hannah Jones carried Surrey to victory against Middlesex in the second match of the day.

Having been put in to bat, Middlesex’s Tash Miles made a solid start on her way to top-scoring with 29, but Naomi Dattani struggled to get bat on ball, eventually dismissed for 2 off 10 balls. Hannah Jones then entered the fray to take the crucial wickets of Sophia Dunkley and Beth Morgan, the latter to a brilliant one-handed catch by Cecily Scutt. A quick 20 off 16 balls from Maia Boucher took Middlesex past 100… just… as they finished on 102-6.

Surrey were soon in trouble as birthday-girl Sophia Dunkley reduced them to 5-2 in the very first over; but a brief interruption for rain handed Surrey a crucial advantage as, with no Duckworth Lewis, the target was reduced by 5 without having to account for wickets. The fight-back was on, led by Jones who finished 26*, supported by Amy Gordon (16 off 17 balls), as Surrey reached the revised target with 1 ball to spare.

Speaking after the game, Morgan praised the “sensible approach” of Hannah Jones, and said that her side had mixed feelings about the day overall:

“We’re very happy with how we played in the first game, but we know we under-performed against Surrey, despite the rain helping us – it made the ball skid on a little bit.”

“We’re disappointed – we probably should have gone away with two wins, but Hannah Jones batted very sensibly.”

— Syd Egan

Berkshire v Surrey

In the final game of the day, a dominant Surrey strode to victory by 10 wickets within the space of 10 overs despite the best efforts of Carla Rudd (41).

Rudd, opening in place of Sherisa Gumbs – who had retired hurt after diving to try to make her ground in the first game – once again carried the team’s batting, with none of her teammates making it into double figures. It meant that Berkshire struggled to post a competitive total, finishing on 83-6 in their 20 overs.

For Surrey, victory was always well within their sights, and so it proved. While Bryony Smith experienced some good fortune – dropped at midwicket while still on 0*, and caught off a Lauren Bell no-ball – the efforts of the Berkshire bowlers were ultimately fruitless, with both Smith (34*) and opening partner Kirstie White (27*) seeing Surrey safely home.

Afterwards Surrey captain Cecily Scutt said that she had been pleased with her team’s performance:

“We stuck to our plans today and with the bowling especially, executed them. Batting, we had talked a bit about partnerships, and we’re starting to see some of the younger girls coming in and doing a bit.

Hannah [Jones] has been bowling really well, and taking lots of wickets. She’s tight, she sticks to her line and plays really positively with the bat – she’s starting to enjoy it a lot, which is really good to see.”

The final round of T20s takes place on July 30th.