A towering six over mid wicket from Gareth Roderick gave Gloucestershire a four wicket win over Middlesex with just a ball to spare.
The powerful blow, from a Harry Podmore full toss, ignited the visitors’ Blast campaign and maintained their remarkable record of never having lost to their opponents in T20.
Chasing 160 to win Glos went into the last over needing 9 runs for victory with Roderick and debutant Graeme Van Buuren at the crease – both on 0 not out.
Podmore’s first ball brought a scampered single for Roderick but a dot ball then put the pressure back on the visitors. Van Buuren managed a single off the third before a Roderick edge for 4 through third man put Glos back in the ascendency.
With 3 needed Roderick (11) connected with the full toss and sent it soaring towards his team mates in the pavilion to spark vociferous celebrations.
To watch a post match interview with man of the match Benny Howell click below:
Gloucestershire will feel the run chase shouldn’t have come down to the wire as Ian Cockbain (40), Chris Dent (45) (pictured) and man of the match Benny Howell (37) all gave their wickets away when they looked in command.
Coming together at 16-2 with Michael Klinger (0) and Hamish Marshall (10) both back in the hutch courtesy of Toby Roland-Jones, Cockbain and Dent set about laying the foundations.
In the modern age of T20 they used good old fashioned values to rebuild the innings, scampering between the wicket and putting away the bad ball.
This approach added 65 virtually risk free runs before an uncharacteristic aberration from Cockbain saw him caught at long-on off Frankin for 40 in the 11th over.
With the score on 81 Howell entered the fray and picked up where Cockbain had left off.
They added 39 before Dent – who scored only three boundaries – was stumped by John Simpson off Stirling with the score on 120.
Howell looked increasingly fluent before falling caught and bowled by Ravi Patel to make it 139-5.
Jack Taylor made 14 before being bowled by former team mate James Fuller in the penultimate over but the South-African born pair of Roderick and Van Buuren (1*) held their nerve to see their side to their first T20 win of 2016.
Earlier, having won the toss and batted Middlesex never found the spark to get their innings going on a freezing night at Merchant Taylor’s School.
The pre-match hype had focused around the power-hitters in their top order but two of them were back in the pavilion midway through the second over.
New Zealand legend Brendan McCullum launched Glos debutant Graeme Van Buuren (1-35) for six over cow corner in the first over but was caught and bowled the next ball as he miscued another bludgeon into the onside.
At the other end Liam Norwell (1-34) – playing his first T20 of the season – picked up the dangerous Dawid Malan (2) thanks to a brilliant diving catch from Michael Klinger, making it 9-2 in the second over.
Andrew Tye (2-33) was given a rough introduction into English cricket as Paul Stirling deposited him for 6 over deep backward square 1st ball.
But his replacement Benny Howell (2-23) made the breakthrough an over later having England skipper Eoin Morgan (13) well caught by Ian Cockbain on the long off boundary with the score on 53.
This brought Australian international Adam Voges – a man with a Test average of 95.5 – to the crease. Together with Stirling the pair added 61, Stirling bringing up his own 50 off 37 balls in the 13th over.
He fell the 16th as he looked to move into top gear, skying a top edge to Roderick off man-of-the-match Howell for 60.
Voges went on to make 52 not out and was assisted by a cameo from Roland-Jones (17). But a flurry of late wickets including a Tye wicket and two run outs from the final three balls of the innings, Middlesex finished on 159-9.
On a decent wicket the score always looked around 20 runs short and so it proved as Glos picked up their first Blast win of the season in style.