Warwickshire defeated Middlesex by 65 runs (D/L method)

If there was any doubt - and there really shouldn't have been - just what a hole Nick Knight's departure will leave in the Warwickshire side at the end of the season, it has become painfully obvious over the last week.

It is no coincidence that Warwickshire have won their last two matches and Knight has flourished in both.

His success remains almost a pre-requisite to his side's victory; particularly in the one-day game. The last time they won a List A match at Edgbaston (on April 30 against Scotland) was the last time he scored a one-day century. God knows how he can be replaced.

Some of the sweet timing may have deserted Knight but his seemingly innate ability to read a pitch and deduce what is a winning score remains undimmed.

Last night, on a truculent surface wholly unsuited to one-day cricket, he saw off a testing new-ball spell, kept his head, and saw his side to a total perhaps 40 better than par by scoring 95.

It would be wrong to suggest this was a one-man show, however. There was much to celebrate in Warwickshire's cricket last night; the bowling of Heath Streak, in particular, while the fielding - with Moeen Ali and Michael Powell to the fore - was better than at any time since the departure of Trevor Penney.

Indeed, this was easily Warwickshire's best one-day performance this season and raised hopes that they may yet enjoy something of an Indian summer.

But the decision to award Knight the man-of-the-match award was not difficult. He set the tone for Warwickshire's innings and gave his side a momentum they never looked likely to relinquish.

Warwickshire hardly laid bat on ball in the first half-hour. Chris Silverwood and Chad Keegan exploited another glued surface beautifully and, after nine overs, there were only 29 runs on the board.

Knight (103 balls) and young Navdeep Poonia remained calm, however.

Sensing that this was not to be a high-scoring match, they attacked only with great discretion and, by posting 68 for the first wicket, allowed their side a wonderfully solid platform in treacherous circumstances.

Although Poonia fell flashing one to point, Knight was increasingly impressive. While none of his colleagues could muster more than 34, Knight prospered against the lesser bowlers and would surely have registered his 31st List A century had a poor umpiring decision not deprived him.

There were a few reminders of 'vintage Knight' among his seven fours and two sixes.

A slog sweep into the stands off Jamie Dalrymple and a lofted cut for six off Scott Styris were perhaps the highlights but Knight's running between the wickets was also highly impressive.

Indeed, with Tim Ambrose struggling, Knight farmed the strike expertly and his final 45 runs came in only 30 balls.

He had some moments of fortune. He was badly dropped at extra cover (by Eoin Morgan off Dalrymple) on 66, was lucky to survive a leg-before appeal on 11, and might have been run out on 74.

Yet this was his 67th List A half-century and, in the circumstances, was worth many more; that no-one else in the match came within 50 of his score speaks volumes.

Streak, bowling an immaculate line and length and finding just enough movement to trouble the batsmen, effectively ended the match as a contest in his first spell.

Paul Weekes fell to the first ball of the innings, flashing at one outside off, before Ed Smith was beaten by one that nipped back and Nick Compton skied one to mid on.

By the time Owais Shah mis-timed a full toss to long on, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Morgan gave a brief demonstration of his rare talent and Keegan and Johann Louw added 52 in 7.3 overs for the ninth wicket but by then the damage was long irreparable.

Middlesex were perhaps deserving of some sympathy, however. By losing the toss, they were obliged to bat under inadequate floodlights and, after two spells of rain, on a pitch which appeared to be increasingly sticky.

One afterthought: this match was the first of the new breed of Pro-40 matches at Edgbaston.

On this evidence, it would appear to be an imperfect format, encouraging formulaic cricket. It will prosper only if the pitches are excellent; with pace and bounce, encouraging positive strokeplay and bowling.

Meanwhile, Tony Frost and Jim Troughton will be fit to take part in the three-day match against West Indies A that begins at Edgbaston today. The pair have been suffering from injuries and take their place in a relatively young and inexperienced side.