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County Championship: Keith Barker and Kyle Abbott propel Hampshire to seven-wicket win as Middlesex fold at Lord’s

Keith Barker added 61 in just 60 balls to his overnight 23 to turn the game on its head
LV= County Championship Group Two, Lord’s, London (day three):
Middlesex 172: Abbott 6-44 & 101: Abbott 5-41, Abbas 3-24
Hampshire 207: Barker 84, Vince 62 & 66-3: Holland 22
Hampshire (20 pts) beat Middlesex (3 pts) by seven wickets

Hampshire wrapped up a seven-wicket win inside three days under the lights after Middlesex collapsed at Lord’s.

Resuming still 41 behind Middlesex on 131-7, big-hitting from Keith Barker (84) carried Hampshire to 207 all out – and a 36-run first-innings lead.

Kyle Abbott (5-41) and Mohammed Abbas (3-24) then bundled Middlesex out for 101 in fewer than 30 overs.

Hants wobbled after a rain delay, but Ian Holland (22) and Sam Northeast (18 not out) took them across the line.

Hampshire’s third win of the season moved them level on points with second-place Somerset in Group Two, while Middlesex remained second bottom, just four points above Leicestershire after a fifth defeat in six matches.

Bowlers had been firmly in charge for the opening two days, but Barker turned the game on its head with a blistering counter-attack.

After bringing up his 19th first-class 50, he then hit 34 off his next 19 balls – including 18 from one Tim Murtagh over – before he finally fell to a superb Peter Handscomb catch off James Harris.

Middlesex lost openers Sam Robson and Jack Davies and first-innings top-scorer Nick Gubbins before they had bridged the deficit.

And they were five down and just 13 ahead when Abbott removed Middlesex skipper Handscomb for the second time in the match, for 24, the Australian’s highest score in four matches this season.

Barker was in the game again when he had Martin Andersson trapped in front for his 50th first-class wicket for Hampshire.

But, after taking 6-44 in the first innings, Abbott again starred, mopping up the tail after tea to finish with match figures of 11-85.

Hampshire appeared to be cruising to the total when a third rain break of the day paused their chase at 23-0, and they quickly lost Joe Weatherley and Liam Dawson after the resumption.

Holland then became Murtagh’s second wicket with 26 still needed, but with rain threatening a wash-out of Sunday’s play, and the Lord’s floodlights on for the extra half hour, Northeast hit four fours in a 13-ball cameo of 18 to seal victory.

Middlesex captain Peter Handscomb:

“To come out and still be upbeat in the field and try and take a few of them with us was credit to our bowling group and the fielders.

“But, ultimately we’ve got to be better with the bat. To be bowled out for 101 anywhere, regardless of what the wicket’s doing, is not going to be good enough.

“Blake Cullen’s a young kid coming in, trying his hardest and it’s really good to see. I loved what he did. I was interested to see how he’d take the new ball and he doesn’t disappoint – he’s swinging it and trying to take poles.”

Hampshire all-rounder Keith Barker:

“Once we got past them, we were confident with the ball and Abbo and Mo bowled brilliantly. We just kept it tight and we got a few lucky wickets on the way but, all in all, we bowled brilliantly.

“We had our eye on the weather so it was a tough one – do we stick or twist? Hold out and bat and see how we get on with the weather or do we get it done? Fortunately we got it done.

“I just saw it as an opportunity, with the short boundary. It was still doing quite a bit and they’d changed the ball because the other one went out of shape, so I thought if we could make the most of the hard ball, every run counts.”

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