Hampshire concede second highest ever T20 score as Cracknell hammers Middlesex to amazing Blast victory at Radlett
Joe Cracknell’s sensational 77 saw Middlesex beat Hampshire by three wickets in a Vitality Blast thriller at Radlett,
The Durham University student blazed three sixes and nine fours in his 43-ball knock, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 122 with wicketkeeper John Simpson (62) as the hosts chased down a daunting target of 216.
Earlier the visiting trio of D’ Arcy Short, Joe Weatherley and Lewis McManus all made 40s as the Hawks posted a daunting 215-6.
It was Hampshire’s fifth highest T20 total in 221 games, while Middlesex’s 217-7 response was the second highest the county have ever conceded - only beaten by Somerset’s 220-4 at Taunton in 2010.
A Hampshire side who had struggled for runs so far in the tournament made hay in the powerplay after being invited to bat, Short hitting three towering sixes as he and skipper James Vince raised 50 in 23 balls.
The pair added 79 before Vince pulled Blake Cullen into the hands of Stevie Eskinazi at deep square leg, but Weatherley carried on the onslaught, clearing the ropes three times.
Short, starved of strike since his early fireworks, was caught in the deep for 48 off the bowling of Nathan Sowter (2-32). And when Weatherley followed for a rapid 41 from just 23 balls, Hampshire were 124-3.
But Liam Dawson, dropped on nought, hit a six onto the pavilion roof and Lewis McManus plundered three more maximums in his 47 from 27 deliveries before departing in the final over. It was the wicket-keeper’s third highest score in 42 T20 innings, and an overdue innings have not gone past 26 in his previous 16 visits to the crease.
Middlesex made a woeful start as Kyle Abbott - playing his first Blast match of the season - flattened Eskinazi’s off-stump before both Paul Stirling and England white ball captain Eoin Morgan perished via uppercuts to third man, leaving them 30-3
It was left to Cracknell and Simpson to carry the fight for the hosts.
Cracknell, 21, had hit the Lord’s score box with a six on his debut in this competition last year and he evoked memories of that occasion with some brutal hitting, taking 20 off MasonCrane’s first over, including a towering six over mid-wicket, as he raced to 50 in 24 balls.
Simpson, helped by four sixes, took just two balls longer to reach his half century as the hundred partnership arrived in 47 balls. He would clear the ropes once more before McManus stumped him off the bowling of Crane.
The leg-spinner then bowled Luke Hollman for 10 before claiming the prize wicket of Cracknell held at the second attempt at backward point by one-time Middlesex man James Fuller.
But Chris Green’s towering six saw the hosts to a first win of the tournament with two balls to spare.
Hampshire, who have now lost three of their four Blast matches this term, are next in action on Thursday when they face Surrey at The Oval.