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2012: Top five Lord's matches

2012: Top five Lord's matches

By in December looks back over 2012 and highlights five of the best matches to take place at the Home of Cricket.

Warwickshire v Hampshire, CB40 Final - 17 September

Match tied, Hampshire won on more wickets remaining.

Nobody could have asked for a better finale to the season than this seesawing epic.

In LV= County Champions Warwickshire and Friends Life T20 winners Hampshire we had the two best teams in the country, beautiful weather and the landmark 50th year of one-day finals at Lord's to enjoy - and they didn't fail to deliver.

On a flat pitch Hampshire made a more than respectable 244, thanks largely to half centuries from captain Jimmy Adams and all-rounder Sean Ervine, with Simon Katich adding a quick late cameo of 35.

Ian Bell has a magnificent record in the county one-day final though, and two years after making a match-winning century to help Warwickshire overcome Somerset, and despite a steady procession of wickets at the other end, he looked like repeating the trick here.

But after he was caught on the fence late on for a ran-a-ball 81, it was left to Warwickshire's long tail to finish things off. With seven needed off the last over they appeared to have done just that, but the experienced Kabir Ali removed Ian Blackwell third ball, leaving Neil Carter - making his last ever appearance - with five to get off three.

A dot ball swung the game towards Hampshire, but Carter threaded the next to the extra cover boundary with expert precision to bring the scores level. Just as the hacks in the J.P. Morgan Media Center were penning "Carter's perfect goodbye" the veteran left-hander failed to get any bat on a low full toss and the superb wicket-keeper Michael Bates, up to the wicket, made sure there was no chance of a run. Hampshire won thanks to losing five wickets to Warwickshire's seven.

Middlesex v Surrey, LV= County Championship - 12-15 April

Middlesex won by three runs.

The first game of the season was as much of a classic as the last, with Middlesex pinching a thrilling victory over their local rivals and fellow promoted side.

On a typically seam-friendly early season deck, Dawid Malan's 88 helped the hosts put together 256. And, despite Jacques Rudolph and Steven Davies putting on 85 for the opening wicket, it quickly became an even better looking total as three wickets each for Toby Roland-Jones and captain Neil Dexter dismissed the Brown Caps for 222.

Middlesex looked to have blown a potential win though, as their second innings disintegrated at the hands of swing-expert Jon Lewis, who took 5/41 to condemn the hosts to 106 all out. Surrey's chase of 140 was always going to be tricky, particularly after their found themselves 22/3. Captain Rory Hamilton Brown rallied the troops and at 101/4 appeared to have the chase under control.

But some superb seam bowling from Toby Roland-Jones and Murtagh kept Middlesex in the game, and the dismissal of last man Jade Dernbach to seal the narrowest of victories sparked frenzied celebration.

England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test match - 16-20 August

South Africa won by 51 runs.

The result might not have been as close at other 2012 classics, but this was still a superb Test match, with all three results still possible heading into the final day.

For the first time in the summer England appeared to have a chance of getting on top of the tourists, after a decent bowling performance, but despite an innings of 95 which announced Jonny Bairstow as a Test cricketer, England could only muster a lead of six runs.

Step forward Hashim Amla. The cricketer of the summer made a magnificent 121 to lead South Africa to a position of real strength by the time England ended their second-innings; Graeme Smith's team setting a target of 346.

By the time man-of-the-match Vernon Philander had removed Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss (in what was to be his final Test innings) by the close of the penultimate day, England were utterly deflated. It didn't get much better at 45/4 on the final morning, but England - led by the superb Matt Prior - swung from the hip at the old ball.

The score rattled along as Imran Tahir came in for some serious stick from the lower-order and there was a dramatic reprieve for Prior. Just as England were starting to believe, Philander had other ideas and rounded off South Africa's rise to the top of the Test world with the last two wickets in two balls. It was no more than they deserved.

England Women v India Women, 1st NatWest ODI - 1 July

India won by 5 wickets.

England - world champions and on a seven match unbeaten run in ODIs - were on the back of a pair of T20 victories over the India tourists and on for a third successive ODI clean-sweep as the five-match series got underway at Lord's.

But India skipper Mithali Raj had other ideas. England, led by Arran Brindle, made a competitive 229 but India were superb in their response with the bat.

Opener Poonam Raut made 60, and, alongside Raj, India stayed in contention. But despite keeping wickets in hand England had the game in control, until a quickfire 50 from Harmanpreet Kaur gave the tourists real hope. Their were nervous moments as Kaur's dismissal provoked a quick collapse, but Raj guided them over the finishing line for a famous victory.

MCC v MCC Young Cricketers - 2 May

MCC Young Cricketers won by 1 wicket.

An early season thriller between the MCC Young Cricketers staff and a strong MCC side featuring a number of former YCs. The more experienced MCC side put together 205 from their 50 overs, and Henry Nicholls set off at a good rate in pursuit of the target, top scoring in the match with 85.

But at the other end, wickets fell quickly, with only Jamie Southgate and Alex Ross getting out of single figures. The YCs were in sight with plenty of overs in hand, but with eight still required, the last wicket pair of Jordan Rollings and Tom Hampton were at the crease. Rollings' eight not out helped his side over the line in 40.4 overs though, securing bragging rights for the next 12 months.

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