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Middlesex denied despite Morgan heroics

Middlesex CCC

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Worcestershire snatched a dramatic tie against Middlesex at Uxbridge after responding superbly to Eoin Morgan’s unbeaten 80-ball 120.

With 24 required off the final over, Ben Scott hit a four and three sixes off Steven Crook to leave Worcestershire needing two off the last delivery.

Middlesex captain Neil Dexter, diving forward at mid-on, then spilled a difficult catch and Scott scrambled through for a single.

Having been put into bat in a game reduced to 36 overs a side, the Panthers posted 229 for four thanks to a stand of 162 between Morgan and Josh Davey - a record for Middlesex’s fifth wicket in one-day cricket.

The hosts did not find the boundary until the sixth over, by which time Dawid Malan had edged Nick Harrison behind.

Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan takes Worcestershire's attack apart at Uxbridge. The England batsman's unbeaten 120, which spanned just 80 balls, looked likely to secure victory for Middlesex prior to Ben Scott's late heroics

Joe Denly lifted Mooen Ali’s third delivery over midwicket for six, but with Rogers and Denly falling in the space of four balls, the Panthers found themselves on 47 for three.

Rogers top-edged a sweep off Moeen to short fine-leg, then Gareth Andrew squared up Denly to have him caught at slip for 27.

Four overs later, Dexter called Morgan through for a leg bye, but, having over-committed himself, the Middlesex skipper was beaten by Vikram Solanki’s shy from backward point.

Morgan soon made light of his captain’s departure and brought up an eye-catching 45-ball half-century with a slog-swept six off Moeen before accelerating rapidly.

The England batsman needed just a further 28 deliveries to reach his ninth one-day hundred, which he celebrated by lifting Jack Shantry back over his head for a maximum, though not before Davey had moved to 50 himself.

With 73 coming off the last six overs, Middlesex were in the ascendancy going into the interval and Worcestershire soon slipped to 19 for two as Solanki was bowled by Crook, who then had Moeen caught at deep midwicket.

Phil Hughes and Daryl Mitchell put the visitors back in contention with a third-wicket partnership of 96 in 18 overs.

Following a period of consolidation, Hughes came out of his shell in the 17th over by clubbing two successive fours off Davey, and he then claimed maximums off Gareth Berg and Tom Smith en route to a run-a-ball fifty.

Hughes picked up another six off Smith, this time over wide long-on, but Roland-Jones then bowled Mitchell for 35.

The visitors push appeared to have lost its impetus when Hughes, on 69, played on to Davey and Andrew skied a catch to Morgan at mid-on, having dashed to 42.

However, it was then that Scott, who spent five seasons on the Middlesex staff, came back to haunt his former employers.

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