On Sunday Middlesex Women will play their last two home games of the season against Sussex and Yorkshire at Merchant Taylors' School in Northwood as they look to make a successful start to their T20 campaign.
Middlesex have had a tough season, winning just two matches, but several players have shown their form both at county and club level, and will be hoping to change the side’s fortune in the shorter format of the game.
In the batting department, T20 captain Natasha Miles has been scoring runs with ease and has demonstrated her quality with fluent strokes, regularly finding the boundary. Miles has accrued 120 runs with a top score of 54 in a thrilling victory over Surrey in the London Cup in her first outing at the helm.
Catherine Dalton has also shown form in both London Cup and 50 over competitions, showing she has the ability to find the boundary and score quick runs. In the London Cup she scored 21 off 13 which included four fours.
Middlesex will also be looking to the experienced Beth Morgan who continues to show her class and is the county’s leading run-scorer with 150 at 30.00, including a high score of 80 in an innings-saving knock against Yorkshire. She has also proved a useful off-spinner, claiming three wickets.
Allrounder Sophia Dunkley will be welcomed back following an injury sustained just days after her destructive leg-spin display at Harrogate at the beginning of the season. Defending a low total, Dunkley produced a masterclass by claiming 4-7 from her ten overs including six maidens, four of which were wicket-maidens. In her first outing post-injury Dunkley scored 28 (25) for Loughborough MCCU and took 1-2 from 1.3 overs. This secured an emphatic 291 run victory over Durham MCCU as Loughborough claimed their seventh consecutive British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) title.
A third spinner in the Middlesex armoury is off-spinner Isabelle Westbury, whose well-flighted deliveries often brings success. Though having played only three games, she has taken six wickets at 13.17 and is the county’s third leading wicket-taker.
Fast bowler Gayatri Gole will likely lead the attack, perhaps alongside fellow quick 16-year-old Katie Wolfe who is in line to make her First XI debut returning from injury. Gole has been bowling well, often beating batsmen for pace.
A second player who could make her debut on Sunday is 16-year-old batsman Nancy Hughes who has progressed through the Middlesex age groups. Hughes has played one Second XI match this season, top-scoring with 32 and could provide stability in the middle-order.
Though Sussex will be depleted with three regulars; Sarah Taylor, Georgia Elwiss and Danni Wyatt on England duty, they are known for their depth and have a number of England Women’s Senior Academy players in their squad. These include skipper Georgia Adams, spinner Linsey Smith, middle-order batsman Paige Scholfield and right-arm quick Ellen Burt, as well as Academy left-armer Tara Norris. Adams comes into the fixture in fine form after scoring an exciting 121 (110), which included an impressive 16 fours and a six, on Thursday for Loughborough MCCU in the BUCS final. Smith has played a key role for Sussex, proving a good signing from Berkshire, with nine wickets at 9.89 this season and will hope to carry this form into the shorter game.
Yorkshire will also be without their England internationals, though Middlesex are fully aware of the strength of their side after losing their 50-over match to them by three wickets. Key players for the White Roses are leg-spinner Katie Levick who has claimed an impressive 19 wickets at just 5.79 this season, and wicketkeeper and leading run-scorer Anna Nicholls (England Women’s Academy) who has enjoyed success at the top of the order, with a season’s best of 50 against rivals Lancashire. A third player Middlesex will look to keep quiet is England Women’s Senior Academy representative Hollie Armitage, who is averaging 21.50 with the bat and has taken six wickets at just 3.50 this summer.
It is free entry to all matches. The first of the day will see Middlesex host Sussex at 10:30am, Sussex then play Yorkshire at 1:30pm with the last match starting at 4:30pm between Middlesex and Yorkshire.
Middlesex Women's squad
Natasha Miles (c)
Preview written by Middlesex Women's content coordinator, Georgia Isaac