Roland-Jones inspires Middlesex to victory
Paceman Toby Roland-Jones bagged the first 10-wicket haul of his career as Middlesex clinched a tense five-wicket win at New Road which leaves Worcestershire’s LV= County Championship Division One status hanging by a thread.
The 24-year-old finished with match figures of 10-118 to leave his side with the task of scoring 204 in 47 overs for victory. They timed their chase to perfection and got home with 11 balls to spare.
It was Middlesex’s fourth championship win of the season, which enabled them to complete the double over Worcestershire, who they trounced by 132 runs at Lord’s in early May.
The lively Roland-Jones followed up his first-innings return of 5-72 with 5-46 in a performance reminiscent of his achievement in Middlesex’s 2010 four-day match against Worcestershire, when he collected a nine-wicket match haul. On that occasion his side lost by 111 runs at the home of cricket.
He soon began to set about Worcestershire when they resumed 61 ahead on 44 for three.
Matthew Pardoe, on 22 overnight, became his first scalp of the day - trapped lbw playing across the line for 28.
Spinner Ravi Patel nipped in to remove nightwatchman Chris Russell for a career-best 22 before Roland-Jones pushed Worcestershire further down the slippery slope with two more wickets.
Firstly, he bowled Neil Pinner middle stump and then had Joe Leach caught in the slips by Joe Denly before Alexei Kervezee and Ben Cox managed to steer their side to 125 for seven – a lead of 142.
Wicketkeeper Cox fell to Steven Crook shortly after the interval before Kervezee completed his second half-century of the match after collecting three fours off 91 balls.
Crook also accounted for Gareth Andrew courtesy of a catch on the midwicket boundary by Gareth Berg and when Alan Richardson was run out, Kervezee was undefeated on 64 containing five fours off 112 balls.
Middlesex soon lost captain Chris Rogers to Richardson and needed a further 177 after tea.
Sam Robson and Denly went on to complete a half-century partnership before the latter had a let-off when he was put down in the slips by Phil Hughes off former Middlesex paceman Richardson.
Denly had another lucky escape shortly afterwards when he charged down the wicket to the luckless Richardson and skied the ball to mid-off, where Kervezee allowed the ball to spill out of both hands low down.
Robson was not so fortunate when he offered a catch to Moeen Ali at first slip off Andrew to fall for 35, after the pair had put on 77 in 21 overs
Denly’s charmed life finally came to an end when a top-edged sweep at Moeen was caught by Cox. He made 48, containing five fours off 72 balls.
Dawid Malan and Crook added 50 in eight overs before Malan departed to an excellent catch by Hughes running in from long-on off Moeen.
Crook was ousted by Russell for a valuable 30 to set the scene for Berg and Neil Dexter, with 26 and 15 not out, to complete an entertaining victory.