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Gloucestershire back in black

Gloucestershire wiped out their negative points tally as they eased to a first NatWest T20 Blast win this term against Middlesex Panthers at Bristol.

Gloucestershire - who began their South Division campaign on minus two points as punishment for preparing a poor pitch last season - eased to a five-wicket victory over the Panthers.

They restricted Middlesex to 111 for eight from their 20 overs and then knocked off the runs with 15 balls to spare.

Opening bowlers James Fuller and Liam Norwell both did damage with three-wicket hauls as the Panthers struggled to get going after a rain-delayed start.

Middlesex lost wickets at regular intervals, and Dawid Malan and captain Dan Christian were unable to kick on having both reached 18.

They looked set for a score well below par as they slipped to 67 for six in the 11th over.

Wicketkeeper John Simpson struck 22 not out and was supported by Ollie Rayner in a seventh-wicket stand of 32, but the Panthers were left needing some bowling heroics.

England paceman Steven Finn threatened to provide them when he ripped out Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger for a duck.

But Finn’s 2-23 was not enough to tip the balance as Middlesex’s attack found they had too little to work with.

Gloucestershire’s lack of a big individual contribution kept the visitors in the hunt but, after Chris Dent and Hamish Marshall both contributed 24, Cameron Herring matched Ian Cockbain’s 18 in an unbeaten effort to finish the job.

The Panthers did not help themselves in the field with Christian dropping Cockbain and Rayner putting down a chance offered by Herring.

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