Walter and Porter inspire Essex to victory over Middlesex
PUBLISHED: 20:05 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 20:05 12 May 2017
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Bowlers take four wickets apiece in Royal London One-Day Cup
Paul Walter and Jamie Porter blasted out fragile Middlesex for 149 to claim career-best one-day figures and lay the foundations for Essex’s comfortable seven-wicket Royal London One-Day Cup victory.
Walter marked his List A debut on Wednesday with three wickets at the death against Sussex, and bettered that with four front-line Middlesex wickets for 37 from eight overs. At one stage he had taken 4-21 from 27 balls.
Porter weighed in with 4-40 as Middlesex, put in, slumped from 54-1 to 117-9, with only a last-wicket stand of 31 between Steven Finn and Ravi Patel, the second best of the innings, lifting Middlesex to a seriously below-par 148.
To compound their humiliation, the visitors left nearly 10 of their 50 overs unbowled.
Alastair Cook saw Essex through to their fifth win in six as the day-night match ended with more than 20 overs remaining and still in bright sunlight, finishing unbeaten on 67.
The big news in Essex’s selection was that James Foster came in for his first game of the season behind the stumps and he was on the scorecard as early as the seventh over as Nick Gubbins, after hitting five fours in 22, got a thick edge to Porter and a diving Foster took the catch in front of first slip.
After two brief breaks for rain, which enlivened the wicket no end, Middlesex lost two wickets in five balls as Nick Compton played on to Walter’s second legitimate ball and then Dawid Malan wafted at Porter to give Foster a more straightforward catch.
Walter made deep inroads into the Middlesex middle-order in a devastating spell when he sent back Adam Voges, James Franklin and John Simpson in quick order. Voges chased a wide one to give Foster a third catch, Franklin was trapped lbw on his crease next ball, and Simpson followed in his next over, also leg before as Middlesex slumped from 54-1 to 90-6.
When the 22-year-old Walter came off after six overs, he had figures of 4-31 and that brought Porter back into the attack and he claimed his third wicket as Ryan Higgins misjudged a slower ball and cross-batted to Tom Westley at short midwicket.
Tom Helm contributed just one before he sent back a tame caught-and-bowled to Ashar Zaidi and then Toby Roland-Jones fell lbw to Porter, stepping back and not playing a shot.
Patel showed some spirit with a six off Zaidi over long leg as the tail wagged determinedly, but he finally departed for 18 when he was bowled by Simon Harmer, leaving Finn 13 not out.
Varun Chopra and Cook moved comfortably to 49 for the first Essex wicket as Cook stepped back to cut one from Helm and Chopra pulled Finn for two splendid fours before he was first to depart, caught behind on the drive against Patel.
Cook survived a dropped catch by Franklin in the slips off Finn when he was 35, and soon after Zaidi received a reprieve when Patel missed a simple caught-and-bowled on one.
It only cost Middlesex five runs as Zaidi swept Patel low to Voges at square leg, but England opener Cook eased himself to 50 from 51 balls when he punched Patel through the covers for his eighth boundary.
Cook’s ninth four was rather more fortunate as he edged Finn uppishly through a three-man slip cordon.
Tom Westley came in after successive first-ball ducks, but looked in better form as he thumped Finn through the covers for four and added two more with identical on-drives off Helm. However, in the same over, he chopped on and departed for 15.
Ravi Bopara looked in a hurry as he took three fours in an over off Patel, sweeping the first and lofting two straight drives to take Essex within 15 runs of victory in only the 26th over. The otherwise accurate Patel finished with a tidy 2-39 from his 10 overs, but it was little consolation for Middlesex, who host Somerset next Wednesday, after Essex visit Taunton on Sunday.