MATCH CENTRE 

Quick-fire half-centuries from opener Joe Cracknell and ex-England Test batter Sam Robson ensured Middlesex successfully chased 254 as Yorkshire ended their Metro Bank One-Day Cup campaign with a five-wicket defeat at Radlett Cricket Club. 

Cracknell’s List A best 87 off 65 balls overshadowed Shan Masood’s measured 96 off 129 for Yorkshire, the overseas captain posting his highest score in his first season with the county.

Robson finished with 62 off 61, but he was one of four quick wickets to fall to Jack Shutt, the off-spinner who was Yorkshire’s best bowler on show with 4-49 from 10 overs.

Shan Masood

Picture by Clive Rose/Getty Images. Shan Masood batting at Radlett today.

Masood was impressive in an entirely different manner, the Pakistan international holding Yorkshire’s innings together on a pitch which wasn’t entirely straightforwards, the county slipping to 29-3 after 10 overs batting first. 

There were sporadic signs of uneven bounce and a two-paced nature about the surface at Middlesex’s leafy and picturesque Hertfordshire outground, where just short of 1,500 were in attendance.

Upon reaching 84, Masood also record his 5,000th run in List A cricket in his 112th appearance. The 33-year-old is averaging 53.89. 

But he missed out on a century when he was trapped lbw as one of four wickets to fall in the final over of Yorkshire’s innings to seamer Ryan Higgins, who finished with 4-39.

Unfortunately, in defence, Yorkshire’s bowlers erred and weren’t able to take advantage of any help on offer from the pitch on a warm and sunny day on the outskirts of Watford. There was a wobble from 171-1 to 201-5. But the early work of Cracknell and Robson gave their side breathing space.  

The Vikings, who lost with 15.3 overs remaining. have now finished their MB50 campaign with four defeats, two wins and two rainy No Results from eight matches. 

This was a much-changed Yorkshire batting line-up in their final 50-over game of 2023. Harry Duke, who opened the batting through the competition, came in at number seven for example, while Fin Bean came in at four. 

Bean was one of three early departures, alongside new openers James Wharton and Will Luxton. 

Seamer Blake Cullen made the initial breakthrough when Wharton miscued to mid-on in the second over – the score 0-1 – before later getting Bean caught at cover off a leading edge. Sandwiched in between, Ethan Bamber had Luxton caught behind by John Simpson standing up to the stumps.

Masood came in at three in the second over and was out in the 50th, offering a tough first slip catch to Cracknell diving away to his left off Cullen on 18. 

While the skipper never got into a free-flowing rhythm, he was able to occupy the crease and allow those around him – Revis, Bess and later Duke with a quick-fire 31 – to play more aggressively.

Matthew Revis

Picture by Clive Rose/Getty Images. Matthew Revis acknowledges the applause upon reaching his fifty.

Those three players all hit a six apiece, while Masood was strong off his legs and hit a couple of eye-catching boundaries down the ground. He hit seven fours in all. He reached his fifty off 78 balls

Revis slog-swept Luke Hollman’s leg-spin over mid-wicket for six en-route to his fifty off 56 balls. Having come in at 29-3, he actually reached his half-century before Masood.

They shared 85 for the fourth wicket before Revis was run out by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end from the square-leg region (Hollman the fielder, 114-4 in the 29th over).

Masood then found another ally in Bess, who like Revis played in combative fashion for his maiden List A half-century, reached in 41 balls.  

Dom Bess

Picture by Clive Rose/Getty Images. Dom Bess batting at Radlett.

He pulled his six over mid-wicket off Martin Andersson’s seam, later caught at deep mid-wicket slog-sweeping at the off the off-spin of Josh de Caires – 197-5 in the 42nd over.

Duke hit four fours and a heaved six over mid-wicket, the latter off Bamber, to give the Vikings a real platform for later in the innings.

Just before his departure, caught at cover off a miscue against Bamber – 239-6 in the 47th – Yorkshire would have been eyeing much closer to 280. 

But they failed to gain any late momentum, with Masood starved of the strike somewhat, and Higgins wrapped things up in a superb final over, including getting Masood lbw with a full ball as he shuffled across to play to leg.

Radlett, incidentally, play their cricket in the Hertfordshire Premier League, a league currently led by Potters Bar.

Unfortunately, Yorkshire’s chances of victory were severely dented as Cracknell flew out of the blocks in pursuit.

Dominant through the covers, Cracknell reached 50 off just 33 balls and took the score to 92-1 after 10 overs – a stark contrast to Yorkshire’s 29-3 at the same stage.

Despite Leech getting Mark Stoneman caught behind, boundaries came with damaging regularity from the visiting point of view.

Stoneman fell with the score at 52-1 in the sixth over, and Cracknell found a second ally in another ex-England Test opener Sam Robson. And the latter also attacked.

Robson reached his fifty off 40 balls, shortly after the century partnership had been secured. 

Shutt trapped Cracknell lbw with a full toss in the 20th over before getting Higgins caught at deep mid-wicket, leaving the score at 177-3 in the 22nd.

Jack Shutt

Picture by Clive Rose/Getty Images. Jack Shutt celebrates one of four wickets.

He then had Robson and Jack Davies caught at mid-wicket and cover off successive balls in the 26th over – 201-5. But his impressive efforts were just too late as Middlesex went on to complete their second win.

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