Middlesex star's Stirling effort condemns Sussex to One-Day cup defeat
Paul Stirling defied a thigh injury which forced him to bat with a runner to score his second century in less than a week as Middlesex beat Sussex by 74 runs at Hove in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
The 27-year-old Irishman suffered the injury shortly after reaching 50 and Nathan Sowter ran for him for the remainder of his innings.
Stirling went on to make 116 from 129 balls to add to his 125 against Kent earlier in the competition and help Middlesex post 288 for 4 from their 50 overs.
Sussex were never really in contention with only David Wiese, who made his second successive half-century, mastering an accurate attack in which skipper Steven Finn took 3 for 29 and left-arm spinner Ravi Patel 4 for 58. They were bowled out for 214 from 43.5 overs.
Stirling and Nick Gubbins put on 198 for the first wicket, Middlesex’s second-highest partnership against Sussex in List A cricket, after they were put in.
On a slow pitch Sussex bowled with decent control and Middlesex were never able to score at more than six runs an over. But Stirling and Gubbins found the gaps and punished anything loose as they passed Middlesex’s previous first-wicket best against Sussex, 160 by Owais Shah and Justin Langer in 1999.
Stirling played within himself but still struck nine fours and two sixes in his 14th List A hundred which he brought up shortly before Gubbins, whose 86 came off 94 balls with two sixes and nine fours, was leg before to Danny Briggs’ quicker ball.
The slow left-armer also picked up Stirling when he holed out to deep mid-wicket while England captain Eoin Morgan was caught in the covers off Ollie Robinson for 23.
John Simpson was dropped three times in his unbeaten 22 and Wiese picked up the other wicket in the penultimate over when Hilton Cartwright (27) top-edged to extra cover.
Sussex’s reply ran into early problems when Finn removed openers Phil Salt, deputising for the injured Luke Wright, and Luke Wells in an excellent new ball spell of 2 for 14 from five overs. Finn later returned to bowl Danny Briggs (2).
Salt played on in the fourth over for five and Wells (13) was held at point in his next over before Finn’s replacement Patel struck in successive overs. Harry Finch (16) was superbly caught at full stretch on the long-off boundary by substitute James Harris and Ben Brown (24) bowled playing to leg.
It was a profitable day for Patel. He had Michael Burgess (37 off 24 balls) and Robinson (17), from the last ball of his spell, both caught at deep mid-wicket while leg-spinner Sowter skidded one through Laurie Evans’ (34) defences after Evans had added 51 for the sixth wicket with Wiese, as Middlesex maintained their knack of taking wickets when they needed them.
Sussex’s race was run when Wiese was ninth out for 57 off 51 balls, bowled by another delivery from Sowter, who finished with 3 for 43, that skidded on.
Full report to follow....