Eoin Morgan leads Middlesex’s world-record T20 chase against Somerset

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Eoin Morgan of Middlesex.

Middlesex completed a world-record run chase to snatch a T20 Blast quarter-final place away from Somerset with a six-wicket win.

On a night of high drama, Eoin Morgan finished a stunning pursuit of Somerset’s 226-5, with England’s World Cup-winning captain unbeaten on 83 from just 29 balls to get his side home with three overs to spare.

Tom Abell’s maiden Twenty20 century, from 46 balls, had left Taunton rocking and Middlesex needing to complete a record run chase in domestic Twenty20 cricket anywhere in the world.

The task was immediately made to look less daunting when opening pair Dawid Malan and Paul Stirling added 67 from the first 22 balls before AB De Villiers maintained the momentum with 32 from 16 balls, before falling victim to a stunning one-handed Max Waller catch in the deep.

But Morgan continued his golden summer, blasting eight sixes and sharing an unbroken 99-run stand from 40 balls with George Scott, to book a quarter-final at Notts Outlaws next week.

Essex Eagles also claimed an unlikely last-eight place, at the expense of Kent Spitfires, with an 11-run win at Chelmsford.

The Eagles began the night as the least likely of the five South Group teams still hoping to secure their progress but Hampshire’s 28-run defeat at the previously winless Glamorgan opened the door.

Cameron Delport’s 64 from 29 deliveries helped ensure the Eagles stepped through it as they posted 189-6 before Jamie Porter’s three for 28 saw Kent bowled out for 179, and confirm Essex will travel to Durham to meet North Group winners Lancashire Lightning in the knockout stage.

Glamorgan posted their highest-ever Twenty20 total at Sophia Gardens as they crashed 13 sixes in their 216-5 before restricting Hampshire to 188-8.

Gloucestershire booked a home quarter-final against Derbyshire Falcons in spectacular style as Graham Van Buuren hit the final delivery for six to defeat South Group winners Sussex Sharks by three wickets.

Sussex will host defending champions Worcestershire Rapids in the last eight after they slipped to a seven-wicket defeat to Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

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James Anderson ruled out of Ashes, England future uncertain

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James Anderson.

James Anderson’s troublesome right calf has ruled him out of the remainder of the Ashes as England drafted Somerset seamer Craig Overton into a 13-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test.

The injury has plagued Anderson for a number of weeks, with England’s record wicket-taker feeling pain in the area as he sought to prove his fitness in a Lancashire Second XI fixture earlier this week.

Anderson will therefore miss out at his home ground of Old Trafford for the Test which gets under way on September 4, with Overton added to the 12 that was named ahead of last week’s dramatic one-wicket victory at Headingley.

There has been some scrutiny on Jason Roy, whose paltry average from seven innings as a Test opener stands at 8.85, but he has been retained, meaning Surrey team-mate Ollie Pope – tipped for a recall – misses out.

Anderson suffered an initial injury to his calf during a County Championship fixture against Durham in June, placing his involvement in the first Test in some doubt.

While he managed to take to the field, another injury to the same area restricted him to four overs on the opening morning at Edgbaston and precluded his involvement for the second and third Tests.

He stepped up his recovery by bowling 20 overs on Tuesday while representing Lancashire in a second-string fixture against Durham at Chester Boughton Hall and sent down a further nine on Thursday.

But it was at the conclusion of his nine-over spell where he became aware of more pain to his calf, and after consultation with the England medical team, he was made unavailable for the rest of the Ashes.

At 37 years of age, the future is uncertain for Anderson. With England’s pace bowling looking well stocked with the rise of a young Jofra Archer and stellar performances of Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes, the Three Lions don’t seem desperate to have the highest Test wicket taking seamer back.

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Jofra Archer on Steve Smith neck blow - "We’ll laugh about it one day"

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Jofra Archer.

Jofra Archer expects to one day share a laugh with Steve Smith about the vicious 92mph delivery which left the Australian batsman concussed, but he has no interest in friendship while Ashes glory remains up for grabs.

The in-form pair are set to resume their bruising duel at Old Trafford next week after Smith was forced to sit out England’s astonishing one-wicket win at Headingley which levelled the series.

Australia talisman Smith, who has made 144, 142 and 92 in his three Ashes innings, was knocked to the floor during the drawn Lord’s encounter, having been clattered in the neck by a thunderous short ball from Test debutant Archer.

With the contest now tantalisingly tied at 1-1 following Ben Stokes’ heroics in Leeds, England paceman Archer has no intention of easing off against his Rajasthan Royals team-mate during the two remaining matches.

“We’ve got a job at hand at the moment. We can all sit and talk – probably even laugh – about it later,” Archer told PA.

“But for now the games are still going on. We still have to keep it a certain way.

“(The likelihood) to actually get hit there is so, so, so small. It could obviously hit the helmet, it could obviously hit your shoulder. To get hit there, you are really unlucky.

“I’m here to get wickets. If they are worrying (about my pace), that’s all on them. For me, we’re here to win games.

“I am (looking forward to facing Smith again). It keeps the cricket a bit more interesting.”

Australia looked certain to regain the Ashes with two Tests to spare before Stokes’ incredible 135 not out dragged the hosts back from the brink.

Archer believes the stunning comeback will have “planted a few seeds of doubt” in the minds of the tourists.

Asked if the momentum was now with England, the 24-year-old said: “We don’t have to be optimists to think so.

“I think we’ve planted a few seeds of doubt in the Australians’ heads so they will probably think twice about declaring, they will wonder if enough is actually enough.”

Archer is excited about the prospect of James Anderson returning to strengthen the home side’s attack after he suffered a recurrence of a calf injury in the Edgbaston opener.

Seamer Anderson, England’s leading Test wicket taker, has been proving his fitness playing for Lancashire’s second XI.

“I think we will be ahead (in terms of momentum), obviously Jimmy coming back at his home ground, hopefully he will want to do something special as well. I think the ball’s in our court,” continued Archer.

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