After a brilliant win in the NatWest T20 Blast at Old Deer Park last night, in front of a Middlesex outground record crowd of 4,107, Middlesex head to the Oval tonight to take on Surrey in the return London derby, in front of what is likely to be another packed crowd.
Middlesex name an unchanged squad for the trip South of the river, as they look to build on a dominant performance last night in Richmond, where they beat Kent by a margin of 16 runs.
Brendon McCullum led from the front, smashing a superb 88 from just 51 balls, in an innings that included six enormous maximums, four of which had to be fetched back from the tennis courts next to the ground.
McCullum's knock, the first of note in his stint with the club this year, set his side up for a competitive total of 179 for 8 in their 20 overs, which Kent valiantly chased, only to fall short, thanks to some tight bowling from Tim Southee and Steven Finn, both who went for less than seven an over from their four overs, and from Ryan Higgins, who bowled the final over of the game to see Middlesex to victory.
With McCullum hitting form, and both Morgan and Malan also now also starting to fire, there's a much more solid look to the top of the Middlesex order.
Southee bowled impressively again last night to claim his seventh wicket of the campaign to date, to move one wicket ahead of Nathan Sowter and Toby Roland-Jones, both with six to their names, and whether Middlesex continue with the same frontline pace attack of Tom Helm, Southee and Finn for tonight remains to be seen, with Roland-Jones also named in the squad.
With a tally of five points from five games played, Middlesex moved to joint fourth in the table, just one point off the top of the table, and with their challenge for qualification well and truly on track.
Middlesex's clash tonight is the first of two-tough away fixture in three days, first at the Oval against Surrey, then on Sunday against Somerset down in Taunton. A win in either of those games will put Middlesex on seven points and in a strong position at the halfway stage of the group phase.
Tonight's clash against our London rivals sees us have the opportunity to do the double over them, after Middlesex claimed the spoils at Lord's last week, when securing a narrow one wicket win in what became a nervous and frantic run chase. Steven Finn's penultimate over heroics claimed the points, and coming in to tonight's game on the back of a win, McCullum's men will be full of optimism that they can repeat that result and claim the win.
Surrey themselves sit one point ahead of Middlesex, on six, and whilst Kevin Pietersen made his long-awaited return to the county on Wednesday evening, he limped off injured with a calf-strain when in the field, having already hit a quick-fire 52 with the bat. Whether he passes a late fitness test for tonight's game is in the balance.
Should he play, then his wicket, along with those of Jason Roy, Aaron Finch and Kumar Sangakkara will be key tonight, if Middlesex are to restrict the flow of runs from Surrey.
Surrey have named the following 16-man squad for tonight's clash:
Gareth Batty (*), Scott Borthwick, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Jade Dernbach, Aaron Finch, Ben Foakes (+), Stuart Meaker, Kevin Pietersen, Ollie Pope, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Roy, Kumar Sangakkara, Dom Sibley & Mark Stoneman.
Middlesex have named an unchanged 13-man squad of:
Brendon McCullum (*)
John Simpson (+)