Rain ensures Middlesex onslaught comes to nought

Middlesex 341-5 (50 ovs): Simpson 82*, Stirling 71; Shahzad 2-88
Sussex 26-1 (4 ovs): Nash 25*; Helm 1-2, Finn 0-24
No result – Middlesex 1 pt, Sussex 1 pt 

Half-centuries from Paul Stirling, John Simpson and James Franklin – plus some brilliant late hitting from Ryan Higgins – proved fruitless as bad weather prevented a result in the opening Royal London One-Day Cup match at Lord’s.

Stirling (71), Franklin (69), Simpson (82 not out) and Higgins (48 not out) propelled Middlesex to a challenging total of 341-5 in their 50 overs.

But the rain arrived with Sussex 26-1 from four overs in reply, meaning both teams take a point each.

Ireland international Stirling’s 71 from 60 balls provided the initial impetus, while Adam Voges chipped in with a useful 40 before a mini-slump to 146-4.

But it was Franklin, in a 117-run partnership with Simpson in 16.4 overs, who began the late assault against Sussex’s bowlers by clubbing five sixes and three fours in his 69 from 60 balls.

Higgins then hammered four fours and three sixes as he scored 48 off just 23 balls, adding a further 78 with Simpson in an unbroken stand – the final over alone went for 24, Ajmal Shahzad the unfortunate bowler.

Sussex’s reply began with Chris Nash taking an immediate liking to Steven Finn, with two legside fours in an opening over costing 10, and then a pulled six and two further fours in the England paceman’s second over.

In between, however, Tom Helm produced a fine outswinger with his first ball of the innings to have Luke Wright caught at the wicket for a first-ball duck and the 23-year old England Lions fast bowler certainly impressed in the two overs he sent down.