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Essex crushed as Middlesex cruise to nine-wicket CB40 victory
11:26pm Wednesday 18th July 2012 in Essex County Cricket Club news
MIDDLESEX left Essex rooted at the bottom of the Clydesdale Bank40 Group A table as they carved out a nine-wicket victory at Chelmsford.
After the home side totalled 146 for 7 in a clash reduced to 25 overs per side because of rain, Middlesex achieved success with 15 balls to spare.
Their crushing triumph was inspired by Chris Rogers and Dawid Malan who gathered runs with embarrassing ease. They were cautious at the outset, scoring just 16 from the first five overs against David Masters and Graham Napier.
But then they increased the tempo considerably as the 50 was raised in the 10th over and 100 in the 16th.
The only early blemish came when Rogers offered a chance to a leaping Tom Westley at slip when he had made 16, but the Australian made good his escape to reach his half-century from 48 balls.
He had moved to 64 with the aid of two sixes and six fours, before he holed out to Masters off Tymal Mills having taken his side to within 11 runs of their target.
Malan finished unbeaten with 76 from 68 deliveries that included seven fours and two sixes and fittingly it was he who took Middlesex to their target with two boundaries in an over from left-arm fast bowler Mills.
Apart from Mark Pettini, the Essex top-order struggled to make an impact in the face of tight bowling backed up by fine work in the field.
It was one piece of great work in the deep that brought Pettini's innings of 44 from 43 deliveries to an end. Rogers was responsible for that as he threw down the stumps from deep mid-wicket as the Essex captain for the day attempted a second run.
Pettini, who was leading the side because James Foster was excused duty as his wife is due to give birth, scored his runs out of 64 before he departed in the 14th over.
It was another six overs before the 100 was raised but much needed impetus was provided late on by Adam Wheater and Jaik Mickleburgh.
They put together 53 in five overs, Wheater smashing three sixes in making 33 from 19 balls before he was caught in the deep while Mickleburgh's unbeaten 22 arrived in 15 balls.
Paceman Toby Roland-Jones was the pick of the Middlesex bowlers with 3-25 from his permitted five overs, an effort that enabled the visitors to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages in the competition.