At Mill Hill School, Naomi Dattani won the toss and elected to bat, with Middlesex posted 152-9 from their 50 overs – their highest total this season. The experienced New Zealand international Rachel Priest got Berkshire off to a flying start but her dismissal slowed the run rate, and Middlesex were able to capitalise by claiming key wickets which reduced Berkshire to 151-9. With two runs required for a Berkshire victory or one wicket for a Middlesex win, a full toss was skied and the catch taken.
— Middlesex Women (@MiddxCCCWomen) May 14, 2017
Dattani opened with vice-captain Natasha Miles and though runs proved hard to come by, the pair took singles when they were on offer and successfully negotiated the first ten overs, with the score on 22.
Middlesex lost their first wicket with 31 on the board, as Dattani was trapped lbw by spinner Emma Walker for 19. Fran Wilson joined Miles in the middle and the pair added 15 before the vice-captain departed for 14 as Walker took a low caught and bowled opportunity. Two overs later Wilson was dismissed in the same manner for 11, leaving Middlesex on 54-3.
Catherine Dalton was joined by the ever-dependable Beth Morgan and the pair added 29 runs for the fourth wicket. Dalton scored a further 12 runs before she hit a Fritha Morris full toss to mid-wicket and was caught by Ashleigh Muttitt. Morgan continued to pick the gaps and ran well between the wickets, again playing the anchor role for before she was trapped lbw by Lauren Bell for 37 with the scoreboard reading 131-8. Other useful contributions came from Holly Huddleston (16) and India Whitty (11) as Middlesex made 152-9. Emma Walker was the standout bowler for Berkshire, finishing with career-best figures of 10-2-28-5.
Chasing a target of 153, Priest made an explosive start to the innings, scoring six fours and a six in a knock of 47 (37) – more boundaries than Middlesex mustered in their 50 overs. Priest was dismissed with the final delivery of the 10th over, having dispatched the first for six, as she was caught by Dalton off Dattani with the score on 58.
Dattani immediately introduced off-spinners Isabelle Westbury and Morgan into to the attack to dry up runs and apply pressure. They bowled well in tandem and Westbury soon claimed her first two wickets of the season – Sherisa Gumbs (9) brilliantly caught by Wilson on the deep-mid wicket boundary, and Annabelle Flack (9) caught and bowled. Varying her flight effectively, Westbury completed her allotted ten overs, claiming a further two wickets to finish with 10-2-35-4.
Huddleston replaced Westbury to deliver the 31st over, a maiden which saw Berkshire on 121-5, requiring just 32 for victory. The return of the New Zealand quick soon brought rewards as she proceeded to take a wicket in each of her final four overs, leaving the visitors in strife at 136-9. Huddleston finished with her best figures in Middlesex colours of 10-5-24-4.
The last pair – Muttitt and Guppy – looked set to be Berkshire’s unlikely heroes as they put on 17 hard-fought runs to come within two of victory.
Dattani had given herself the captain’s role – to bowl at the death. Her third legitimate delivery was skied to mid-off where three fielders circled under the ball until the experienced Westbury called for the catch, and took it safely, to the delight of her teammates. This gave Middlesex a one run victory in their first win of the 50 over competition this season.
Speaking about her first win as Middlesex captain, Naomi Dattani said, ‘It was a really, really good moment. Especially when Izzy [Westbury] got the last catch – everyone was jumping for joy. And it was a nice team feel, not just for me, but for the whole team to have a win.’
Middlesex are back in action on May 28th at Mill Hill School against Nottinghamshire and May 29th at Teddington Cricket Club when they host Warwickshire.