Middlesex slump to defeat
Middlesex completed a disappointing start to their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign after suffering an agonising four-run defeat to Warwickshire at Lord's.
After losing their opening game in the tournament to Glamorgan at Cardiff on Saturday, Eoin Morgan's side badly needed to bounce back. But they failed to chase down Warwickshire's 240 for seven after falling short of the 11 runs they needed from the last over bowled by Oliver Hannon-Dalby - reaching 236 for eight.
Jonathan Trott underpinned the Bears' innings with 78 from 108 balls with seven fours.
His old Ashes foe Chris Rogers then bettered that knock with 96 (127 balls, eight fours) but after the Australian fell with 59 still needed as Warwickshire's injury-hit bowling attack tightened the noose of Middlesex's lower order.
After surprisingly deciding to bat first on a greenish wicket, the visitors had to work hard for runs against an attack impressively led by Steven Finn.
After William Porterfield (five) chipped Tim Murtagh to mid-wicket, Varun Chopra and Trott settled for steady accumulation in a stand of 89 in 22 overs which ended when the former - claiming 46 runs from 93 balls - skied Toby Roland-Jones to deep mid-wicket.
His departure triggered a disjointed mid-innings spell in which Tim Ambrose (14) and Trott were caught after failing to clear the infield and Rikki Clarke (three) scuffed a return catch back to spinner Dawid Malan.
Late impetus was needed and it arrived from Laurie Evans (46), who added 45 in partnership with Ateeq Javid (15) and 29 in a seventh-wicket stand with Jeetan Patel (16 not out).
With competition debutants Aaron Thomason and Josh Poysden in their attack, Warwickshire badly needed their senior bowlers to deliver and Clarke and Hannon-Dalby began well, each picking up a wicket in their opening spell.
Malan (five) edged the latter behind then Nick Gubbins (five) drove hard at Clarke and was well-held by Chopra at slip.
Rogers and Morgan (32) added 94 in 25 overs before the latter missed a reverse-sweep and fell lbw to 22-year-old former Sussex leg-spinner Poysden.
Poysden should also have had Ryan Higgins, on six, but Hannon-Dalby dropped the chance at mid-on and Higgins survived to help Morgan add 59 in nine overs, a stand which put Middlesex in control.
But Higgins (26) leading-edged Patel to extra-cover and just as Rogers appeared to be guiding his side home, he chipped Javid to mid-wicket where Chopra took a superb catch.
That had the home nerves jangling and Poysden added to those nerves when he produced a beauty from which Neil Dexter (nine) was stumped.
That left Middlesex needing 30 from four overs with four wickets in hand but their chase lost conviction with every passing over.
Eleven were needed from the last over but, despite an edged four by Murtagh (six no), Hannon-Dalby held his nerve to see his team to victory.