Middlesex 173-8 (20 ov): Morgan 59*, Malan 34; Napier 3-40
Essex 156-8 (20 ov): Ten Doeschate 58*; McClenaghan 4-33, Sowter 1-16
Essex (0 pts) lost to Middlesex (2 pts) by 17 runs
Eoin Morgan anchored Middlesex to their second T20 Blast victory of the season as they tamed an out-of-sorts Essex at Chelmsford.
The England one-day captain finished unbeaten on 59, topped up by a last-over thrash in which he hit Graham Napier for 22 priceless runs.
New Zealand pace bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, in his first appearance for Middlesex, also starred, taking 4-33.
After winning the toss, Middlesex were 71-1 off seven overs but became becalmed mid-innings by the occasional spin bowling of Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley and lost wickets with almost wanton abandon.
Brendon McCullum fell for 16, Dawid Malan made 34 and Paul Stirling hit 30, with Morgan carrying the rest of the middle and lower order.
However, their 173-8 looked better the longer Essex’s response went on and only when Ashar Zaidi came to the wicket and cracked three sixes in a 13-ball 27 did the home side look remotely in the chase.
Ryan ten Doeschate hit 58 in 43 balls but lost partners as McClenaghan proved too hot for the tail, and the hosts ran out of steam.