Stirling blitz sinks Kent
Ireland batsman Paul Stirling led Middlesex to only their second win in nine Friends Life t20 matches this season as they recorded a 28-run victory over Kent under the Duckworth-Lewis method on a cold, wet night in Uxbridge.
Stirling’s unbeaten innings of 51 from 23 balls ensured Middlesex were well ahead of the required rate on 79 for one from eight overs when the umpires finally called it a day, having played on in pouring rain for much of the match.
Kent had earlier posted 149 for three, thanks largely to an unbeaten 84 from Joe Denly, who shared an unbroken partnership of 96 with Marin van Jaarsveld.
Middlesex had put Kent into bat and initially bowled well to restrict their opponents to 53 for three in the first 10 overs.
Anthony Ireland had Rob Key caught at mid-on in his second over and Tom Smith, the left-arm spinner, took two wickets in successive overs.
Smith had the dangerous Azhar Mahmood, who hit a century off 54 balls against Gloucestershire last week, stumped off his second ball and then circled to his right to hold a fine, tumbling catch when Darren Stevens got a steepling top edge.
Middlesex did not take another wicket, however, as Denly and Van Jaarsveld took control. Denly’s 64-ball knock contained eight fours and two sixes while van Jaarsveld struck five fours in his 32-ball 43.
It was obvious by then that the match would not go the distance and, although Middlesex got off to a poor start when Adam Rossington - an 18-year-old batsman making his Twenty20 debut - was lbw first ball to Azhar, Stirling soon had his side ahead of the required scoring rate.
The Kent bowlers were clearly handicapped by the wet ball but it was still an exhilarating exhibition of clean hitting from Stirling.