Stirling and Morgan hit hundreds as Middlesex thrash Lancashire

19:04 10 June 2012

Paul Stirling

Paul Stirling

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Paul Stirling and Eoin Morgan both smashed classy centuries at Lord’s as Middlesex Panthers reignited their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign with a comprehensive demolition of Lancashire Lightning.

Stirling hit 119 – his first Middlesex ton of the season – and Morgan made 116 as the Panthers racked up 350-6, their highest ever total in 40-over cricket.

That always looked miles beyond the Lightning, who folded for 183 as Middlesex completed a resounding 167-run victory to move above their visitors to second place in Group A.

Put in to bat, Middlesex lost Dawid Malan for 12, caught slashing outside off stump against Ajmal Shahzad, but it wasn’t long before Stirling and Joe Denly were rattling along at a confident seven an over.

Both batsmen repeatedly pierced the field and put the Panthers in a strong position with their partnership of 142, eventually ended when Denly (58) miscued Gary Keedy to point.

But Morgan announced his arrival with a reverse sweep to the boundary off Gary Keedy, and began to enjoy himself as he produced an audacious array of shots.

At the other end, Stirling became stuck in a rut as he edged towards three figures, but finally squirted Sajid Mahmood through gully for four to notch his ton from 83 balls.

Morgan raced to his half-century from just 27 deliveries, thumping an enormous six into the Mound Stand, and the carnage continued until the 35th over, when Stirling skied Keedy to backward square leg.

The Lancashire spinner picked up two more quick wickets as Gareth Berg (6) and Neil Dexter (3) fell cheaply, but Morgan slammed Mahmood high into the stand to complete a 49-ball century – his first for Middlesex in more than three years.

The England batsman finally holed out to deep mid-on off Keedy (5-55) in the penultimate over, attempting what would have been his 12th six, as the Panthers closed on 350-6.

A blinding one-handed catch from Malan removed Stephen Moore (8) in the third over and Lancashire were soon in the mire at 23-3, with Steven Crook (3-26) accounting for Steven Croft (3) and Ashwell Prince (10).

Chris Rogers then took a diving catch to remove Karl Brown (7) off Tom Smith, who also trapped Gareth Cross (12) lbw before Shahzad (29) and Paul Horton responded with a defiant 50 partnership.

But Smith (3-30) took a return catch to dismiss Shahzad and Horton was run out, one short of his half-century, by a superb throw from Crook at cover as the Lightning fizzled out with five overs left.

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