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Middlesex v Kent: NatWest T20 Blast unbeaten run ends at Lord’s

Thursday 28th May 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent’s unbeaten start in the NatWest T20 Blast ended at Lord’s as Middlesex secured their first win of the group stage in front of a crowd of 13,500.

A 104-run stand between Paul Stirling and Eoin Morgan in just 49 balls catapulted the hosts to a score of 205 for five that never looked attainable.

Ireland opener Stirling smashed 90 from 49 deliveries alongside England one-day skipper Eoin Morgan, fresh from a stint in the Indian Premier League, hitting three sixes and four boundaries in a sparkling 27-ball cameo.

In reply, Kent were never in contention as James Franklin took 5 for 21, his best figures in the format, and they were dismissed for 90 in 14.4 overs.

When Morgan and Stirling were adding 104 from 49 deliveries for the third wicket Middlesex looked on course for an even greater total on an easy-paced pitch.

But, to their credit, Kent clawed it back after Morgan holed out to long-off two balls after reaching his half-century.

Middlesex only scored 22 runs from the next 22 balls and failed to find the boundary again until the final over when Franklin took two fours off Mitch Claydon, who was the economical Kent bowler with 0-24 off four overs.

But it proved more than adequate as only skipper Sam Northeast (20) made any impression.

Mixing his pace cleverly, Franklin was twice on a hat-trick. In his first over he had Northeast caught at long on before yorking Matt Coles (11).

Coles had been promoted up the order, but after hitting South African debutant Kyle Abbott’s first ball for six he struggled to lift the tempo thereafter.

Darren Stevens drove Franklin’s slower ball to long on and in his final over the New Zealander had Alex Blake caught at long on and Sam Billings at long off from successive deliveries.

Toby Roland-Jones, Steve Finn and Paul Stirling also picked up wickets before Australian-born leg spinner Nathan Sowter wrapped up the innings with two wickets on his debut for a Middlesex team who, on this evidence, look well equipped to improve on a poor record in the competition, having only reached the knockout stages once since 2006.

Earlier, none of the Kent bowlers had been spared when Morgan came out to join Stirling after the departure of Dawid Malan, who was playing his first game since breaking a finger six weeks ago, and Nick Compton.

Stirling struck seven sixes and six boundaries and it was a surprise when he was out in the 14th over trying to clear the mid-wicket boundary off Stevens.

Morgan lost little in comparison but after he was well held by Blake in front of the pavilion off Middlesex struggled to maintain their tempo.

Australian Joe Burns was foxed by Coles’ slower ball in the penultimate over and it was left to Franklin to take his side past 200.

Click here for the scorecard