|Friends Life t20, Chelmsford|
|Essex, 139-9 (20 overs) beat Middlesex 131-8 (20 overs) by eight runs|
Essex stuttered to an eight-run victory against Middlesex in a game where both sides struggled with the bat.
Ryan ten Doeschate (28) top scored for the home team as they amassed an unimpressive 139-9 from their 20 overs.
But that modest total proved beyond an equally poor Middlesex side, whose best effort came from Ryan McLaren with an unbeaten 35.
Middlesex were awarded six runs for Essex's slow over-rate but finished short of their target on 131-8.
There could have been a different outcome had it not been for two crucial innings from Essex tailenders Graham Napier (23) and Tim Phillips (21).
The home side were deep in trouble on 77-7 but Napier struck three sixes in one over to add some much-needed momentum.
And ultimately that proved decisive as Middlesex failed to meet their required run-rate.
POST MATCH REACTION
Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter:
"Ryan McLaren does hit them well, he hasn't had that much luck and hasn't really come off as he'd have liked, but I think he played a great innings there.
"I think probably too little too late, the guys in the middle order and top order let us down a bit again with early wickets and trying to pull it back from there is not easy.
"You look at their batting line-up on paper and you think they should be getting 200 runs here every game, so I thought we were exceptional the way we bowled and fielded."