Middlesex 203-6 (20 ovs): McCullum 63, Simpson 51; Lawrence 3-21
Essex 131 (16.2 ovs): Foster 50; Helm 5-11, Finn 2-40
Middlesex (2 pts) beat Essex (0 pts) by 72 runs
Tom Helm took 5-11, the best bowling figures by any Middlesex player in the 14-year history of T20 cricket, to reignite his side’s Blast hopes with a resounding victory at Lord’s.
Brendon McCullum and John Simpson both hit half-centuries as Middlesex amassed 203-6 – and the home side were ruthless in the field, dismissing Essex for just 131 in reply.
Eoin Morgan took four catches to help clinch Middlesex’s third win of their South Group campaign.
Essex put the home side in but, despite the early scalp of Nick Gubbins, they soon regretted that decision.
McCullum was in destructive mood, savaging Paul Walter with a series of slashes and big heaves to the boundary and bringing up his half-century from just 19 deliveries.
The Middlesex skipper clobbered successive sixes off Mohammad Amir and, although he eventually holed out to long-on for 63, Simpson seized the baton eagerly.
He and Morgan (39) added 69 for the third wicket but, once spinner Dan Lawrence had prised out both Simpson (51) and George Scott (0) in the same over, Middlesex’s momentum was checked.
Lawrence (3-21) also bowled Morgan, who swung and missed, but some big hitting by Ryan Higgins (13) and James Franklin (16 not out) ensured they surmounted 200.
Middlesex made early inroads when the visitors replied, with Adam Wheater (0) and Varun Chopra (9) both caught by Morgan at point.
Lawrence, with some clean hitting, racked up a swift 29 before succumbing to a miscued top edge – and the Eagles’ middle order then went into meltdown as they collapsed to 62-6.
James Foster refused to surrender, unleashing a range of shots as he blazed 50 from 25 balls in a partnership of 63 with Walter (16).
But both perished in the same over from Helm, who also accounted for Mohammad Amir first ball and wrapped up the win by bowling last man Matt Dixon with more than three overs to spare.