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Allenby plunders ton to sink Middlesex

Skipper Jim Allenby cracked 105 from 63 balls as Glamorgan snatched an impressive six-wicket win against Middlesex Panthers at Richmond to boost their hopes of quarter-final qualification from the NatWest T20 Blast’s South Group.

Allenby hit three sixes and 14 fours and was joined by his opening partner Jacques Rudolph in a record Twenty20 stand for Glamorgan of 136 after Middlesex had totalled 184 for three.

Dawid Malan had carried his bat for the Panthers, hitting 68, while Dan Christian thumped five sixes in a 29-ball 48.

Rudolph, the former South Africa Test batsman, contributed 42 from 35 balls to a partnership which beat Glamorgan’s previous T20 record – for both the first wicket and all wickets – of 129 between Matthew Elliott and Robert Croft against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2005.

Eoin Morgan also made a 28-ball 41 for Middlesex, but with the ground’s short boundaries their total was never going to be enough once Allenby and Rudolph got going to provide a 2,000 crowd with even more entertainment.

Jim Allenby strikes the second-highest Twenty20 score in Glamorgan's history, behind only Ian Thomas' 116 at Taunton in 2004

In the end, despite Allenby’s eventual dismissal to James Harris in a 19th over in which Ben Wright also pulled his first ball straight to deep midwicket, Glamorgan – who needed just six runs from the last over – completed their fourth Blast victory of the season with three balls to spare to go into fourth place.

Allenby kicked off Glamorgan’s excellently-controlled chase by whipping James Harris for six over midwicket, and then taking four fours from fellow seamer Harry Podmore in the fifth over.

Rudolph twice reverse-swept Ravi Patel for four in an eighth over costing 14, and Allenby clubbed further sixes off both Neil Dexter and Christian before reaching his hundred – only Glamorgan’s second in Twenty20 – with a lovely extra-cover four off Harris from the first ball of the 19th over.

By then he had lost Rudolph, caught reverse-sweeping Dexter, and Mark Wallace, caught in the deep off Podmore after hitting a few valuable fours off the suffering Harris in a quickfire 18.

Glamorgan had needed only 49 from six overs when Rudolph was out, such was the perfect pacing of the chase by the two openers.

Middlesex began slowly, with just 10 runs from the first three overs, in which Joe Denly was quite brilliantly caught on the long-off boundary by a diving Stewart Walters for five, before Morgan ignited the innings.

Morgan pulled Michael Hogan for six in the fifth over, the ball sounding like a rifle crack off his bat, and he also launched Will Owen’s fast-medium over long-on for another maximum in a ninth over which cost 17 runs.

Eoin Morgan departs after his breezy 41 helped Middlesex to 184 for three - a total that proved not enough at Old Deer Park

The scoring rate dipped again when Morgan fell, smartly held low to his left at cover by Hogan off left-arm spinner Dean Cosker, but after the hundred arrived in the 14th over the accelerator was pressed by Christian, who drove Cosker for three sixes in a 15th over that brought 22 runs.

Malan, in the same over, was dropped at deep midwicket by Chris Cooke, when the fielder clearly lost the ball in the low sun setting over Old Deer Park.

After Malan had completed a 38-ball fifty, Christian chose the 17th over to plunder two more sixes and a four off Hogan before Cooke atoned for his earlier miss by pulling off a superb low catch as he dived to his left on the cover boundary to end the Australian’s brutal innings.

There were two more sixes before Middlesex were finished, one each for Malan and Ryan Higgins hit straight off Owen in a 19th over that went for 17 runs. In the end, though, on a beautiful summer’s evening, it proved not to be enough.

Allenby said: "We didn't play at our best overall tonight, but we still did enough to win and it was a victory we really needed in terms of the group, especially as we have got a difficult game tomorrow evening against Somerset in Cardiff.

"It was also an important result because we hadn't won in our previous four group games, but it was a belter of a pitch and Jacques and I managed to get on a roll and put together a partnership."

Morgan said: "We batted well to post a good total, and certainly something to bowl at, but I reckon our fielding tonight cost us around 15 to 20 runs - and that was the main difference."

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