On a sunny summer evening at Guildford CC, Middlesex once again stamped their dominance over neighbours Surrey, continuing their unblemished record in the London Cup with a 7-wicket win.
Naomi Dattani was the undoubted star, hitting a fast-powered 52 and taking 2-16.
Opening the innings and with Middlesex chasing Surrey’s 124, Dattani made her intent clear from the outset, blasting five boundaries in the first 2 overs, and punishing England’s Bryony Smith with a six over midwicket.
In no time at all she had reached 50, while partner Tash Miles, watching on from the other end, had only 4 runs to her name. It was an innings of sheer dominance, played with a level of aggression and confidence rarely seen at this level of the game.
Perhaps the only flaw was in its ending; Dattani was eventually dismissed in the 7th over just after passing 50, chipping the ball straight into the hands of the cover fielder, leaving Middlesex on 60-1.
When Dattani departed, the run rate dropped significantly – Middlesex did not reach 100 until the 15th over – but the damage was already done; and captain Tash Miles (28*) eventually saw her side safely over the line with an over to spare.
Earlier, Surrey had won the toss and chosen to bat first; a decision that was rather unfortunate for Middlesex, who with 2 players stuck in traffic on the M25 had to “borrow” Surrey’s 12th man to help field to ensure the game started on time.
Helped by some erratic Middlesex bowling, Surrey got going quickly with 20 runs coming off the first 2 overs.
But the introduction of Dattani to the attack halted the pace as she removed Aylish Cranstone and Hannah Jones in successive overs, leaving Surrey 71-3 at the halfway stage.
For a while it looked as though Bryony Smith would hold things together for Surrey, as she picked off the Middlesex spinners with some stylish cover drives; but young Emma Albery – fresh from taking 4-19 in Sunday’s Championship match against Somerset – eventually slipped through Smith’s defences, bowling her round her legs as she departed 6 short of her half-century.
Led by Eva Gray (15) Surrey attempted to push on with some quick running between the wickets, but Middlesex took advantage of the ensuing pressure to enact two sharp run-outs, ensuring that Surrey finished on a below-par 124-7.