Jun 17 2011 By Jon Batham
Neil Dexter Image 1
Sussex 165-8 Middlesex 116-9 Middlesex lost by 49 runs
MIDDLESEX were again hit by an injury curse as their miserable start to the twenty/20 campaign continued at home to Sussex last night.
Already missing Gareth Berg (hand) and Dawid Malan (hamstring) the Panthers lost Chris Rogers to a hand injury early on in the 49-run defeat to the Sharks following a vain attempt to catch a skier by Lou Vincent at mid-off.
The Australian left the field immediately and was unable to bat in Middlesex’s reply.
Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter (pictured) later confirmed the opener’s hand was badly swollen, while other sources close to the club suggested the little finger of his right hand had been dislocated – both make him a doubt for Sunday’s crucial County Championship fixture with Kent at Lord’s.
However, Rogers’ injury couldn’t disguise another woeful effort from the hosts, where they wasted an excellent start by wayward bowling, dropped catches, and with the honourable exceptions of Scott Newman and Jamie Dalrymple, inept batting.
It all begun so well with Dexter winning the toss and Steven Crook, for the second match running, striking in the first over by yorking Chris Nash for nought.
Steven Finn, who made a late dash up the motorway after being the odd one out for England, then followed suit, causing Joe Gatting to hook straight down Tom Smith’s throat at deep square leg and it was 2-2.
That should have been 2-3 as in Crook’s next over Vincent was dropped on nought by Dalrymple at short cover.
The Sussex batsman hit the last ball of that over for six, but enjoyed a second life when Rogers grounded the swirler in a very expensive first over from South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren.
Vincent went on to make 44 off 32 balls, sharing a stand of 69 with Luke Wright (34).
Smith broke that stand with a beauty which pitched middle and hit off,
as he recovered from a tough first over to return 1-29 – another
excellent effort by the spinner.
However, Murray Goodwin’s 48 from 33 balls saw Sussex to 165-8 despite the excellent Finn’s contribution of 2-19.
With Rogers crocked it needed a big innings up top from Paul Stirling if Middlesex were to make a fight of it, but as with too many of the Irishman’s contributions so far in the competition, two early boundaries were followed by a lazy cut to backward point and he departed for just nine.
Pinch hitter Crook also failed and by the time Newman (44) and Dalrymple (28) came together the game was as good as lost.
The pair added 64, but once they were separated with the run rate soaring the end came quickly, Chris Liddle taking the last three wickets in five balls to finish with 4-20.
It leaves Dexter’s men propping up the table with just one win in six prior to their visit to Kent tomorrow.