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Worcestershire survival hopes are hanging by thread
WORCESTERSHIRE will go into their penultimate LV= County Championship Division One match of the season 18 points adrift of safety and with their top-flight status hanging by a thread.
A perfectly-timed fourth day run chase saw Middlesex secure a five-wicket victory with only 11 balls remaining of yesterday’s contest at New Road to leave the hosts deep in the relegation mire.
The County now host champions-elect Warwickshire starting on Tuesday (10.30am), before travelling to fourth-placed Somerset for their final game and have it all to do to save their top-flight status. Worcestershire posted 186 all out in their second innings, which meant Middlesex needed to chase 204 to win in 47 overs.
Alan Richardson trapped Chris Rogers lbw for 15, but Joe Denly was able to benefit from being dropped twice to post 48.
Sam Robson (35) was well taken by Moeen Ali at first slip off Gareth Andrew, before Denly’s luck ran out and he was caught behind to make it 102-3. Up until this point, Middlesex had not batted with any urgency, but they reassessed the situation following a message from the dressing room and their big hitters were shunted up the order.
Dawid Malan bashed a rapid 22 before being brilliantly caught by a diving Phil Hughes running in from long-off off Moeen, but Steven Crook and Gareth Berg continued the assault.
Crook was caught in the deep by Kervezee for 13 off Chris Russell, but Berg (26no) and Neil Dexter (15no) both launched sixes to ease their side home.
In the morning, Toby Roland-Jones (5-46) removed Matt Pardoe (28), Neil Pinner (2) and Joe Leach (4) in quick succession.
Alexei Kervezee (64no) dragged the County back into the match with a battling 64 not out, but it was to prove in vain.