Skip to main content

Middlesex v Kent: Billings hits 50 before hosts cruise to Radlett win

Friday 31st July 2015

Men’s First Team

A Sam Billings half-century was not enough as Middlesex won by 87 runs at Radlett, their first victory in this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup.

Half-centuries by Nick Gubbins and James Franklin underpinned Middlesex’s 50-over total of 260 for 9, and only Sam Billings, with 68 from 83 balls, threatened in Kent’s reply of 173 all out.

Gubbins included four legside sixes in his 56 from 64 balls, Franklin hit 50 from 59 balls and Toby Roland-Jones also biffed two sixes and two fours in an unbeaten 31 from 22 balls which contributed to Middlesex taking 89 from the last ten overs of their innings.

Dawid Malan’s 47 was Middlesex’s best top-order effort and, with the ball,off spinnerOllie Rayner’s 4 for 45 stood out while Roland-Jones, with 2 for 26, was the pick of the seamers. Junaid Khan, James Harris and Franklin also bowled with control, however, to keep up the pressure on Kent on a slow pitch.

Once Kent had slipped to 106 for four, in the 24thover, with Darren Stevens and Daniel Bell-Drummond out, much depended on Billings, who registered his eight List A 50.

He dominated a fifth-wicket stand of 49 with Fabian Cowdrey, but once Cowdrey had edged Roland-Jones behind on 16 and Billings had departed in the next over, the 36th, top-edging a reverse-slap at Rayner to short third man, the end was not long in coming as the Kent lower order perished to a variety of desperate swipes.

Middlesex, who won the toss, made a sluggish start against some accurate new ball bowling from Stevens and Matt Coles, and the total was only 25 when Mitch Claydon, brought on for the ninth over, struck with his second ball by nipping one back off the seam to have Sam Robson leg-before for 15.

Nick Compton, on 17, looked aggrieved to be adjudged lbw to James Tredwell when he shaped to play to leg, and Eoin Morgan fell for 3 when Coles leapt high at deep mid on to take a stunning one-handed catch when England’s one-day captain tried to hit Tredwell over the top.

Middlesex were 97 for four when Malan, having reached 47 from 67 balls, pulled a long hop from Cowdrey straight to deep mid wicket.

Cowdrey’s slow left arm slingers eventually brought him two for 37 from his ten overs, as he took a smart caught and bowled chance to send back Franklin.

Franklin and Nick Gubbins had done their best to repair the innings with a fifth wicket stand of 78 in 16 overs, but by then Tredwell had finished his skilful ten-over spell with the superb figures of two for 24. With ten overs to be bowled, Middlesex were only 171 for four and in need of some urgent acceleration.

Gubbins provided it, pulling the returning Stevens for two legside sixes and, later in a fine innings,pulling Coles for six and also swinging Ivan Thomas’s medium pace away over the ropes on the railway side of Radlett Cricket Club’s attractive ground.

A brilliant sliding catch by Alex Blake, sprinting in from long on, ended the left-handed Gubbins’ effort, one ball after he had collected two runs when Claydon, at short fine leg, could only parry away a flick off his pads against Thomas that perhaps should have been caught.

John Simpson holed out to Blake at long on off Claydon, for 15, but some lusty hitting from Roland-Jones meant that another 38 runs came from the last four overs. Coles was hit for two straight sixes by Roland-Jones, the second blow going through Stevens’ hands at long off.

One ball before, Stevens had caughtRayner for 9 in the same position but Roland-Jones twice drove Claydon for four during a final over that ended with Harris being run out for 2 trying to complete a second run.

Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly began Kent’s reply with some confident strokes, with Bell-Drummond cover driving and straight-driving Khan for fours and Denly advancing at Roland-Jones to thrash him to the extra cover boundary.

Denly, though, mishit a pull at Khan to be caught at mid on for 11 and Sam Northeast, edging Roland-Jones on 17, was brilliantly held low down by Simpson, diving to his right.

That was 50 for two, and Kent were 69 for three when Bell-Drummond ran himself out for 23 after Billings sent him back following a dab to short third man. Stevens, on 14, holed out to long on attempting to hit Rayner’s off spin into the pavilion, leaving Billings to shoulder Kentish hopes.

Kent will hope to have a similar reaction as they did to their last defeat to Middlesex, when a blip at Lord's in the NatWest T20 Blast inspired the Spitfires to top the South Group and earn a home quarter-final.

Click here for the full scorecard