Middlesex are back in NatWest T20 Blast action at Lord’s again tomorrow evening, under the floodlights, for a Sky televised clash against Hampshire, with another crowd of well over 20,000 set to flock to the Home of Cricket.
Having picked up three points in their last two T20 Blast encounters, with a win against Essex and a rained off draw against Sussex at Hove, Middlesex’s have forced themselves into a position where another win tomorrow night at Lord’s, which will make it three wins from three at their St John’s Wood home, would put them right in contention at the top end of the South Group table and in a great position to challenge for a quarter final berth as the group phase of the competition nears its conclusion.
Middlesex will be without the talismanic Brendon McCullum, whose stint with the club has reached an end, as the New Zealander left the club earlier this week to join up with his franchise at the Caribbean Premier League.
They couldn’t ask for a better man to be taking over the captaincy reins however than Eoin Morgan, England’s white ball captain, who will skipper the Middlesex side tomorrow evening and until Dawid Malan returns from his international stint with the England Test side.
Malan’s call up to the Test squad, along with Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn, mean that the Middlesex side will take on a very different look tomorrow night, with a number of players named in the squad who have yet to feature in this year’s campaign to date. With strength and depth in the Middlesex squad however, Daniel Vettori, the club’s Head Coach, is confident that the new arrivals will grab their opportunities with both hands and settle straight in.
Middlesex’s Tim Southee also misses out on the clash tomorrow, with him always only scheduled to play thirteen of the club’s fourteen group matches. Southee has temporarily travelled back to New Zealand, however will return for the club’s next T20 Blast encounter next week at Lord’s.
The squad is boosted by the return of Adam Voges, now fully recovered from the injury that saw him leave the club earlier this season for a six-week period of recuperation in Australia. Voges is added to the squad and will be available across all formats for the Seaxes for the remainder of the season.
Hampshire come to Lord’s looking to achieve the double over Middlesex, having beaten them down at the Ageas Bowl earlier in the campaign, and they’ll be reliant on both Michael Carberry and James Vince for their runs tomorrow, as the only two hitters to have surpassed 200 runs for the visitors in the campaign to date. Hampshire sit just one point ahead of Middlesex in the South Group table, having played the same number of games, so there’s a huge amount riding on tomorrow’s result.
Whilst the pace attack of Gareth Berg, Reece Topley and Kyle Abbott poses a threat with the ball for the visitors, it’s their two spinners who lead their wicket taking charts, with Shahid Afridi and Mason Crane having taken eleven and ten wickets respectively to date.
With so much at stake tomorrow, with both sides looking to gain an advantage for the final group stage push, tomorrow’s match is all set to be a thrilling encounter.
Middlesex have named the following fourteen-man squad for tomorrow’s clash with Hampshire…
Eoin Morgan (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)