AB Cs us hone
By London Leprechaun
July 19 2019
London Leprechaun's reports from last nght on an unexpectedly happy evening for Middlesex and a good start to the T20 campaign in many ways. And a few pictures to illustrate the point.
What makes a T20 match different to a normal game? Crowded buses for one. All stands open for another. Long queues for everything including dodgy looking pulled pork for another. A ceremonial entrance for the players, including flags and flames for another. Loud music, interviews with spectators, TV screens encouraging people with MCC ties to indulge in dreadful dad dancing for another. Oh and a cricket match going on in between everything with Middlesex in slightly psychedelic pink stripes.
Our recent upsurge in County Championship form has made me for no logical reason quite optimistic about the T20 season. There were quite a few new names in the Essex side and a new captain for them in Simon Harmer who had been our nemesis before. That might dent the optimism a bit. But we had a decent start with Mujeeb and Helm bowling.
A decent start for Mujeeb
And we also saw that Mujeeb can catch. The first danger was Westley who hit three boundaries in one over but Essex didn’t really get away. We seemed to change bowlers every over and though there were odd overs that seemed expensive the Essex scoring rate was kept within control. Especially after Westley was out. There were a couple of dropped catches but the fielding was sharp on the whole; summed up by one of those relay catches which was a nice way for AB to announce his presence. He took the catch close to the boundary, realised he was about to fall over the edge and tossed the ball back to George Scott. I am not sure if I have seen Middlesex do that before. It happened right in front of us but as I was just returning from getting a cup of coffee at the time I don’t have a picture.
After that Essex were kept under control, losing wickets each time they looked to accelerate and hit the ball in the air. The only real blemish was the final over bowled by Finny which gave away nineteen runs and gave Essex a properly defendable score.
Big Hitting didn't last
Well we all know what happened next. A brisk start; two Essex dropped catches_ one a comedy of errors, Stirlo out early, Gubbins not lasting long. And then AB gave everyone a treat.
AB First shot looking good
A confident first shot, followed by a couple of rusty ones, a bit of dodgy running and then just sheer class and some brutal hitting which kept the boxes attentive. Mala who had actually been batting beautifully himself was content to just hit the odd ball for four, feed him the strike, and sit back and watch with everyone else. Tension evaporated and even Mala’s wicket – stumped trying to hit the ball to St John’s Wood did not matter. Simmo hit a few brutal shots before fittingly AB swung the ball away for the winning four. Now that is what we have overseas players for! And kept our new way of celebrating Middlesex boundaries with flag waving rather busy. I prefer that to the dancing girls.
Oh and one final treat. Between innings the World Cup did a lap of honour. It's a nice looking trophy with a very happy looking captain.