MCC v Middlesex: Champions Middlesex edge home to one-wicket victory

John Simpson
John Simpson finished unbeaten on 89 in Middlesex's second innings chase of 305
Champion County game, Abu Dhabi (day three of four):
MCC 332 & 151: Lyth 42; Podmore 3-25, Helm 3-30
Middlesex 179 & 306-9: Simpson 89 not out, Compton 59, Crane 4-95
Middlesex win by one wicket

Middlesex beat the MCC by one wicket in the Champion County game in Abu Dhabi despite a hat-trick from Craig Overton.

The Somerset seamer reduced Middlesex to 242-7 in pursuit of a target of 305 as he dismissed Stevie Eskinazi (44), James Franklin and James Harris.

But wicketkeeper John Simpson (89 not out) shepherded the tail home through testing bowling from Overton, Lewis Gregory, Mason Crane and Jack Leach.

Simpson pulled Overton for four over square leg to see Middlesex to victory.

County champions Middlesex had earlier made light work of wrapping up the MCC's second innings, which resumed the third day on 145-7, a lead of 298.

Craig Overton celebrates during his hat-trick
Craig Overton (centre) finished the match with figures of 7-92, including a hat-trick

Tom Helm claimed both wickets as just six runs were added. Yorkshire and England bowler Liam Plunkett was absent with a calf injury sustained earlier in the game.

Nick Gubbins (52) and Nick Compton (59) both made half-centuries in a strong start to Middlesex's chase, before Eskinazi and Simpson added 84 for the fifth-wicket as the champions progressed steadily towards tea.

But Overton exploited the twilight conditions and the swinging pink ball to trap Eskinazi and Harris leg before and find the outside edge of Franklin in successive balls.

Leg-spinner Crane (4-95) then snared the wickets of Harry Podmore and Tom Helm after the interval to leave Middlesex still requiring five runs when last man Ravi Patel joined Simpson in the middle.

But Simpson latched on to a rare loose ball from Overton to seal victory under lights with a day to spare.

Somerset bowlers Overton, Gregory and Leach finished the game with 15 wickets between them, while Simpson's match-winning 89 not out came on the back of a first-innings 49.

Middlesex begin their County Championship defence against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on 14 April.

Middlesex wicket-keeper John Simpson told BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "We (Middlesex) don't do boring, do we? It was another exciting finish, but nice to get a win over the MCC.

"Starting the day, we thought we could sneak a win and obviously, we're very excited to have got it over the line.

"It felt a little bit like déjà vu from last season at one stage in the run-chase and very, very exciting for the supporters who travelled over here.

"It was just a case of staying in the moment and trying to play each ball and pick my options. I was fortunate to get a few out of the middle of the bat.

"It was a great experience to play with the pink ball, I've never faced one before and that will be really useful going forward into this season."

Top Stories