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Middlesex miss out on pay day

PUBLISHED: 11:59 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:23 24 August 2010

Middlesex's cricketer Neil Dexter (R) is clean bowled off Trinidad and Tobago's bowler Ravi Rampaul (L) during their match of the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament at the Standford Stadium in St John's on October 27, 2008. Middlesex scored 117 runs at the end of their innings.       AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Middlesex's cricketer Neil Dexter (R) is clean bowled off Trinidad and Tobago's bowler Ravi Rampaul (L) during their match of the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament at the Standford Stadium in St John's on October 27, 2008. Middlesex scored 117 runs at the end of their innings. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

2008 AFP

By Paul Chronnell MIDDLESEX missed out on a $280,000 prize pot after they were beaten by Trinidad & Tobago in the new Stanford Super Series Champions Cup match in Antigua on Monday night. Middlesex succumbed to a five-wicket defeat against the West India

By Paul Chronnell

MIDDLESEX missed out on a $280,000 prize pot after they were beaten by Trinidad & Tobago in the new Stanford Super Series Champions' Cup match in Antigua on Monday night.

Middlesex succumbed to a five-wicket defeat against the West Indian champions in a low-scoring game, and the faces of dejection at the end told their own story after the players missed out on a £10,000-a-man windfall.

But after another curiously slow and low-scoring game, skipper Shaun Udal joined in the growing concern about the playing conditions at the Sir Allen Stanford ground, where Middlesex and England had also failed to post decent totals on Sunday.

"I have not known a ground where the visibility is as bad," said Udal. "Once the ball has gone above the lights you are just watching an area to see where it comes out of and you have to adjust accordingly.

"I am not going to blame people at all, nobody wants to drop a catch and there are very difficult catching conditions out there," said Udal, who fears the problem will arise again when England take on the Stanford Superstars on Saturday night with the small matter of $20million at stake.

"It is an aspect that brings Saturday into even more focus with the chance of a $20million catch going up in the air," added Udal.

"There is a genuine chance it could be dropped. Nobody meant to drop them [in our game] but we dropped two or three and unfortunately they happened to be crucial for us and the guys involved."

No catch was more costly than the one put down by Neil Carter, the South African all-rounder Middlesex controversially drafted in on loan from Warwickshire specifically for this series and the Champions League in India in December.

After failing with the bat as an opener, Carter crucially dropped Dinesh Ramdin and then saw two sixes belted from one over to turn the game in Trinidad's favour.

However, there were plenty more Middlesex players at fault as both Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan made costly drops in the deep, allowing Ramdin (41) and Darren Bravo (27 not out) to successfully chase down a victory total of 118.

Things had looked much more positive for the Crusaders when Carter and Tim Murtagh struck early to reduce T&T to 1-2, and then Dawid Malan's leg spin removed Daren Ganga and his brother Sherwin to leave them on 49-4.

But dropped catches proved crucial and even though Ben Scott's brilliant stumping off Murtagh did remove Ramdin, Bravo hammered the winning runs with a huge six off Tyron Henderson with four balls to spare.

In truth that was a closer finish than Middlesex could have envisaged after a terrible batting display on the sluggish Antiguan surface.

Carter, Joyce, Henderson and Malan all went cheaply, as only England exile Andrew Strauss (20) made any progress at the top of the order, before Morgan's battling 30 from 31 balls gave the innings some hope.

The only positive on the night was the display from Neil Dexter, the new signing from Kent who blasted three sixes in 39 from just 25 balls to at least post a total of 117-8 that Middlesex could defend.

In the end it almost proved enough - but Middlesex will return home enriched only by the experience, even if they win their final game on Thursday against the Stanford Superstars.


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