Jun 15 2012 By Jon Batham
TWENTY/20 SOUTH GROUP Surrey 150-4 Middlesex 99/8 off 16 overs Middlesex lost by 28 runs on Duckworth Lewis system
NEIL Dexter admitted his batsman lost the plot after Middlesex crashed to defeat in their opening match of this year’s Twenty/20 campaign against Surrey last night.
The Panthers looked to be cruising to a comfortable win at 64-1 in the eighth over chasing 150 for victory.
However, the dismissal of Dawid Malan lbw for 26 to a ball from man of the match Gareth Batty (4-13) which kept a fraction low led to carnage as seven wickets, including that of top scorer Paul Stirling (36) fell for 22 runs in just 35 balls in the gathering gloom.
And by the time the heavens opened for a third time on the night with four overs left the match had long since been lost.
“We definitely panicked and didn’t play smart enough cricket," admitted Dexter. “At 64-1 chasing 150 we definitely should have won the game and it is extremely disappointing we lost quick wickets when we were in an extremely good position, especially with the rain around and being well ahead on the Duckworth/Lewis scoring system.
“We had one decent partnership and had one of our guys batted through in the innings we would basically have cruised to victory.”
The batting collapse was the second occasion the tenants of Lord’s lost control of the clash with the Brown Caps, the first coming after they reduced the visitors to 32-4 following some excellent bowling through the ‘power-play’ overs.
Toby Roland-Jones, Gareth Berg and Tom Smith all struck with their first deliveries as the powerful Surrey top order was despatched to the pavilion.
However, following a second brief break for rain, two less marque names Matt Spriegel (53) and Gary Wilson (54) slowly rebuilt the Surrey effort with a maturity and skill sadly lacking in the Middlesex reply.
Dexter admitted his side needed to heed the example of the duo, who equalled the fifth-wicket record for domestic Twenty/20 cricket with their stand of 117.
At the same time the skipper felt his own side lost some of their early intensity in the field as they failed to press home the advantage.
He added: “Guys like Spriegel and Wilson are not perhaps the big names on their team-sheet, but it just shows you don’t have to have a team with big names in it to get you good scores and take your wickets. We have just said in the dressing room if they can do it, when we look at our line-up then we should be doing that too. It is good to see guys like them putting their hand up and it is a lesson for us too.
“Having said that and not to take anything away from the Surrey pair we went through a phase in the field where we let them get too many ones and twos and made it a bit easier for them to build a partnership and then have a go at the end which they did very effectively.”