Middlesex head to the Ageas Bowl tomorrow, to take on Hampshire in the third NatWest T20 clash of what's been a thrilling campaign thus far.
Brendon McCullum's travel to the South Coast unbeaten in their opening two clashes, which have both been exciting, yet nerve-shredding encounters! An incredible fightback against Gloucestershire last Friday saw Middlesex earn a tie to bag a point from the game, before then winning another thrilling contest under the Lord's floodlights tonight when they overcame London rivals Surrey by just one wicket, with Steven Finn hitting the winning runs with eight balls to spare.
Middlesex inflicted Surrey's first defeat of their campaign upon them this evening, and they'll have the chance to do the same to Hampshire tomorrow, who, like Surrey, have also won their opening two contests. Against Glamorgan, Hampshire ran out winners by 22 runs first up, before then beating Sussex at Hove by 19 runs to go the top of the South Group table.
Middlesex's stand out man with the bat in the early stages of the competition has undoubtedly been Dawid Malan, who with knocks of 36 and 41, has looked in typically sublime and fluent form. The others at the top of the order have yet to ignite, although with that much class and experience in the tank, it can only be a matter of time before the sparks start to fly and the runs begin to flow freely.
Tim Southee has shown his class with the ball, picking up four wickets already for Middlesex, bowling at times with great pace and penetration, whilst balancing that with some superb movement and deft changes of pace. It's easy to see why Angus Fraser saw him as the perfect bowler to complement his attack. Tom Helm continues to excel, and his 3 for 29 at Lord's deservedly earned him the man of the match award in front of the Sky cameras. Nathan Sowter and Paul Stirling have been Vettori and McCullum's preferred spin options in the early stages of the competition, and Stirling's two wickets against Surrey were due reward from the three miserly overs he delivered tonight.
Their opponents Hampshire always pose a threat with the white ball, and they'll offer stiff competition tomorrow evening, especially at home on a surface they tend to thrive on. Rilee Rossouw, James Vince and Michael Carberry will go hard up top, before former Middlesex man George Bailey will enter the fray, against his playing colleagues from last season. With Lewis McManus, Sean Ervine, Shahid Afridi and Gareth Berg filling the Hampshire batting line-up, there are runs down the order too, and the Middlesex attack will need to get into the Hampshire top order early if they are to restrict the hosts run scoring.
With the ball Hampshire's wickets have been spread around, with Mason Crane, Kyle Abbott, Reece Topley, Berg and Afridi sharing the wickets among them, although Middlesex have more than enough firepower in the batting ranks to take the attack to them and dominate tomorrow.
Middlesex name a fifteen-man squad for the clash at the Ageas Bowl, with Stephen Eskinazi added to the fourteen that were named for the Surrey clash.
Middlesex fifteen-man squad as follows...
Brendon McCullum (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)