Barker’s double landmark as Hampshire complete Championship double over Middlesex at Lord’s

Keith Barker hit two personal landmarks to set up Hampshire’s seven-wicket victory against Middlesex in their rain-affected LV= Insurance County Championship game at Lord’s.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 1:15 pm
Hampshire's Keith Barker (centre) celebrates taking the wicket of Middlesex's Martin Anderson at Lord's yesterday. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Barker blazed an impressive 84 – his highest score for the county – to secure a valuable lead of 36 as they stretched their first-innings total to 208.

The 34-year-old also bagged his 50th red-ball wicket in Hampshire colours as the home side crumbled to 101 all out inside 30 overs, with Kyle Abbott claiming another five-for to take his match tally to a stunning 11 for 85.

That left Hampshire chasing a modest target of 66 and, although rain intervened, they had just enough time to scramble home on yesterday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Keith Barker on his way to a Hampshire-best 84 at Lord's yesterday. Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images.

Resuming on 131 for seven, a first-innings advantage had looked an optimistic target for the visitors – particularly when Middlesex seamer Blake Cullen gained reward for his consistent bowling by taking out Abbott’s off stump.

That wicket prompted Barker to unleash a flurry of leg-side boundaries, including successive fours off Tim Murtagh to bring up his half-century and edge Hampshire ahead.

Although Murtagh removed Brad Wheal, caught behind, he received further punishment from Barker, who clattered him into the Mound Stand for two robust sixes in taking 18 off one over.

Barker thrashed James Harris for another six to secure a batting bonus point before he was last out later in the same over, courtesy of Peter Handscomb’s acrobatic catch at mid-on.

Barker is no slouch with the bat - he has six first class centuries to his name for Warwickshire. He also scored five hundreds for Warwickshire 2nds, including 118 against Hampshire 2nds in 2008 (when he was dismissed off the occasional bowling of Vince!)

Wickets began to fall with greater frequency when Middlesex batted again after lunch, with Abbott and Mohammad Abbas swiftly sending their top five back to the pavilion.

Handscomb was the only one among those to reach double figures, striking Abbott cleanly through the covers for consecutive boundaries in a 12-ball knock of 24 before the seamer pinned him leg before with one that kept low.

At 67 for seven, Middlesex looked in danger of failing to exceed their paltry total of 79 at the Ageas Bowl last month, but Harris and Cullen displayed a degree of defiance with their stand of 28.

Abbott eventually wrapped up the innings after a 45-minute rain delay, trapping Harris and Ethan Bamber lbw to finish with five for 41.

It looked as if Hampshire might be thwarted by a further downpour, eight overs into their chase. But the batsmen returned for an extra half-hour and, despite losing three wickets, that was sufficient for Sam Northeast and Tom Alsop to see them over the line.

Barker, talking about his 18 off one of Murtagh’s overs, said: ‘He bats the same, so he’s going to get it in return at some point!

‘I just saw it as an opportunity, with the short boundary.

‘It was still doing quite a bit and they’d changed the ball because the other one went out of shape, so I thought if we could make the most of the hard ball, every run counts.

‘Once we got past them, we were confident with the ball and Abbo (Kyle Abbott) and Mo (Mohammad Abbas) bowled brilliantly.

‘We just kept it tight and we got a few lucky wickets on the way but, all in all, I thought we bowled brilliantly.

‘We had our eye on the weather so it was a tough one – do we stick or twist? Hold out and bat and see how we get on with the weather or do we get it done tonight? Fortunately we got it done.’

It was Hampshire’s third victory in six Group B games, and their second against Middlesex.

The county are next in action against Leicestershire, starting in front of spectators at The Ageas Bowl on Wednesday.

Scores: Middlesex 172 (N R T Gubbins 51, K J Abbott 6-44) & 101 (K J Abbott 5-41) v Hampshire 208 (K H D Barker 84, J M Vince 62) & 66-3.

Hampshire (20pts) beat Middlesex (3pts) by 7 wkts.