Stirling pounds match winning century
Royal London One-Day Cup -
8 June 2016
Gloucestershire lost to Middlesex by 7 wickets
Venue: The Brightside Ground, Bristol
Irish ODI international Paul Stirling survived an early chance to score his ninth century in List A cricket and steer Middlesex to a seven wicket win under Duckworth Lewis at the Brightside Ground in the Royal London Cup.
A rain break reduced Middlesex’s target from 255 in 50 overs to 208 in 35 overs, but Stirling’s 87 ball hundred saw them to victory with 21 deliveries to spare.
Earlier in the day half centuries from Gareth Roderick and Hamish Marshall – who passed 7,000 career runs in List A cricket in the process – were not enough to give Gloucestershire a total which challenged a strong Middlesex batting line-up.
The pair were brought together after Chris Dent and skipper Michael Klinger were both back in the pavilion with only 36 on the board, and proceeded to add 114 in 22 overs for the 3rd wicket.
Roderick made 64, and although Marshall (74) had support from Cockbain for a while both men were out in the 35th over, and thereafter runs came at a modest rate with only one four and one six in the last ten overs as Gloucestershire reached 254-8.
Listen to the post match thoughts of Richard Dawson here :
Gloucestershire made one change to the team beaten at Cardiff on Monday, Kieran Noema-Barnett replacing Jack Taylor and extending the bowling options for Michael Klinger, but they would be in use later in the day as James Franklin decided Middlesex should field first after he won the toss.
In muggy conditions it was an understandable call, and Toby Roland-Jones soon checked hopes of a brisk start as Chris Dent got a leading edge in the second over and Gubbins took the catch at short cover.
Klinger was into his stride quickly, pulling and cutting Roland-Jones for boundaries in the same over before the giant figure of Ollie Rayner took the first of three catches, this one at slip as Klinger (20) misjudged a steer to third man, again off Roland-Jones.
Gloucestershire had some rebuilding to do, but the platform would not have materialised if Eoin Morgan hadn’t dropped Roderick in the gully when he’d made only 13. The scoreboard at that stage would have read 40-3, but Roderick and Hamish Marshall – whose departure at the end of the season had been announced earlier in the day- then played responsibly to prevent further early alarms.
Roderick was the more aggressive, working former Gloucestershire favourite James Fuller for boundaries through mid wicket and mid off. His first 26 runs contained six fours, while Marshall was content to keep the scoreboard moving with singles on the leg side until James Franklin bowled a loose half volley from the pavilion end and Marshall despatched it into the sight screen for six.
The 50 partnership took 12 overs and Roderick had a second stroke of fortune when Adam Voges missed a run out chance from close range. The scoreboard ticked past 100 in the 21st over when Roderick hit a straight six to the Ashley Down Road end off Fuller and it was at that point that Middlesex skipper James Franklin briefly experimented with spin from both ends through Ollie Rayner and Adam Voges.
Both batsmen hit Rayner over the top on the off side, Roderick completing his half century from 62 deliveries with seven boundaries and a six, while Marshall took one ball fewer with three fours and a six.
Rayner had been expensive but he was to have a significant impact in the field after Helm returned to the attack and removed Roderick in the 29th over, the Gloucestershire wicket keeper trying to loft a drive over mid off but only finding a retreating James Franklin who took a comfortable catch.
Roderick had made 64, and 150-3 with more than 20 overs remaining still looked a good position to work from while Marshall and the busy Ian Cockbain kept the scoring rate up until the 35th over, when both men were dismissed.
Cockbain’s run out for 14 came at the bowler’s end, as he failed to regain his ground after anticipating a call for a single to Rayner at mid wicket. Two balls later Marshall (74) clipped Roland-Jones straight to Rayner, who took his second catch of the innings to leave Gloucestershire’s lower order to try and accelerate the run rate.
Try as they might, the remaining 15 overs produced only 71 runs as Howell, Noema-Barnett and Smith couldn’t make significant headway against the Middlesex attack. Rayner’s third catch accounted for Howell off Fuller, and he also removed Noema-Barnett with the aid of a stumping from ‘keeper Simpson. Smith manufactured 18 singles but Gloucestershire’s total of 254-8 looked no more than a workmanlike effort and less than they would have wanted.
Middlesex’s reply began with a few spots of rain in the air and there was only one important moment before the players went off for rain in the 7th over with the visitors 17-0, Paul Stirling surviving a low chance to Michael Klinger at second slip off Liam Norwell when he had made just a single.
When Stirling and Dawid Malan re-appeared, the revised target was 208 in 35 overs, and although Gloucestershire skipper Michael Klinger could put four fielders outside the circle almost immediately Stirling soon began to take them out of the equation, flicking Howell over mid wicket for six and taking 14 off three balls in an over from Taylor, including a top edged six high over ‘keeper Roderick.
Malan was working the ball into the gaps with some wristy strokes, a contrast to the chunky Stirling, who lifted Howell into the temporary stands at mid wicket for a second time on his way to a 44 ball half century.
It was ultimately Craig Miles who split the Middlesex openers, Chris Dent making ground at deep extra cover to hold on a catch which removed Malan for 29, but an opening stand of 84 in 14 overs had put Middlesex firmly in charge.
Stirling’s placement as well as his power were hard to contain, and it allowed Nick Gubbins to play sensibly around him, picking up half volleys from Miles and Howell and driving them straight down the ground towards the pavilion.
The pair added 50 in only seven overs, and it was clear this wasn’t Gloucestershire’s day when the left handed Gubbins whipped Liam Norwell to Craig Miles at long leg, only for the catch to go through his hands and then over the rope.
Finally, Gubbins (37) played too early at a ball from Taylor and Noema-Barnett ran round from mid on to take the catch but that stage Middlesex needed only 50 from the remaining 11 overs and Sterling was within sight of a hundred which he completed from 87 balls in the 28th over. It contained 11 fours and three sixes and although Eoin Morgan fell cheaply to Neoma-Barnett with the target in sight, Stirling finished the match 125 not out, having struck boundaries off the last three deliveries he faced to give Middlesex victory by seven wickets.
It means Gloucestershire realistically need to win all their five remaining group games to be in contention for a place in the knockout stages.
Middlesex won the toss and elected to bowl.
Michael Klinger | Christopher Dent | Gareth Roderick | Hamish Marshall | Ian Cockbain | Benny Howell | Kieran Noema-Barnett | Tom Smith | Craig Miles | Liam Norwell | Matthew Taylor |
Dawid Malan | Paul Stirling | Nicholas Gubbins | Eoin Morgan | Adam Voges | John Simpson | James Franklin | Tobias Roland-Jones | Ollie Rayner | James Fuller | Thomas Helm |