Rogers and Malan topple Gladiators
Chris Rogers returned to haunt Gloucestershire in a record-breaking partnership as Middlesex stole a crucial march in the race for a Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final place by moving to the summit of Group A.
The Gladiators crashed to a crushing 10-wicket defeat to seriously hamper their own hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
So often a thorn in Gloucestershire’s side during four seasons spent with Derbyshire, 34-year-old Western Australian Rogers dominated proceedings at the College Ground.
He clubbed his way to a consummate hundred and shared in a match-winning unbroken stand of 218 with Dawid Malan as Middlesex chased down a victory target of 215 with 9.3 overs to spare.
The result saw them move above the Netherlands to assume leadership of the group.
None of Gloucestershire’s bowlers were spared as Rogers made 122 runs from 102 balls to register his first one-day century for Middlesex, smashing 18 fours and a six in the process.
Malan proved equally uncompromising, cutting and pulling his way to a chanceless 89 from 81 deliveries with seven fours and four sixes.
Rogers and Malan’s partnership was the highest for the first wicket in any one-day match for Middlesex, surpassing the 210 posted by Paul Weekes and Ed Smith against Northumberland at Jesmond in 2005.
Insufficient though it was, Gloucestershire’s total of 214 for eight was built around Dan Housego’s enterprising innings of 68 from 67 balls.
Having spent four years on the staff at Middlesex without playing a single one-day game, the 23-year-old right-hander no doubt felt he had a point to prove.
His decision to leave Lord’s and return to Gloucestershire several years after graduating from their academy has at long last afforded him an opportunity to establish himself as a regular selection in all forms of the game.
Highly motivated, Housego certainly enhanced his burgeoning reputation on a two-paced pitch, timing the ball impressively during stands of 67 in 14 overs with Benny Howell and 60 in seven with Alex Gidman for the third and fourth wickets respectively.
He helped Gloucestershire rebuild their innings following the early loss of New Zealanders Hamish Marshall and Rob Nicol and then accelerated on his way to a List A-best score, aided by seven fours and a huge six over extra-cover off Ireland spinner Paul Stirling.
Gidman proved even more destructive, twice hoisting Neil Dexter over midwicket for big sixes in a whirlwind knock of 27 from 23 balls that had a 4,000-plus crowd on their feet.
But he then skied a catch to square-leg off Gareth Berg and Housego departed soon afterwards, held at long-on in the act of driving Stirling to leave the score on 153 for five in the 30th over.
Ian Cockbain and Ed Young picked up the cudgels in a stand of 48 in six overs for the sixth wicket, but the home side’s progress again faltered in the face of some accurate and hostile bowling at the death from England's Steven Finn and fellow paceman Tony Roland-Jones.
Having accounted for overseas debutant Nicol with the new ball, Finn returned to bowl Young for 19, finishing with 2-27 from eight overs, while Roland-Jones dismissed Cockbain for 31 while accounting for Jonathan Batty in similar fashion to return figures of 3-24.