Coming off the back of two recent outstanding victories in the NatWest T20 Blast, Middlesex head to the Ageas Bowl looking to build on what has been a hugely encouraging start to this season’s campaign, from what looks to be a side well set up for the challenges of the short format of the game.
Middlesex will have to take on Hampshire without the up-front power of Ulsterman, Paul Stirling, who was so influential in the wins against Kent and Sussex, with quick-fire knocks of 90 and 88. Also in full flow and looking to continue his prolific white ball run-scoring spree is Stirling’s fellow opener Dawid Malan, who carried his bat for an unbeaten career high hundred down at Hove to see off the Sharks bowling attack.
Captain Eoin Morgan was also showing signs of being back to his brilliant best against Kent at Lord’s, when smashing a rapid half century as the Seaxes racked up their highest ever total at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
James Franklin bagged himself a five’fer at Lord’s in the win against Kent last Thursday. Kyle Abbott who snared himself five wickets at Hove the following day is unavailable for this match as he returned to South Africa on Monday for a Cricket South Africa players' awards event and new kit launch. He will be back in the UK and available for the match against Glamorgan on Friday.
Hampshire’s start to this year’s T20 Blast campaign has also given the Southampton based side plenty to be optimistic about, boasting the same record as Middlesex, having secured two wins from their opening three clashes.
The reliable run sources of James Vince and Jimmy Adams continue to deliver with the willow, which each of them averaging over thirty this term, whilst Michael Carberry, Adam Wheater, Sean Irvine and former Seaxe Owais Shah always dangerous and capable of piling on big runs at the top of the order.
Never an easy place to visit, the Ageas Bowl continues to offer assistance to turners Danny Briggs and Will Smith, whilst the pace of Chris Wood and Yasir Arafat, formerly of Sussex, offer plenty of firepower and pace.
With both sides looking to build on solid starts, this encounter looks to be an intriguing contest.
PLAYER INJURY UPDATE
Ryan Higgins: Ryan sustained an injury to his hand whilst fielding at Billericay in a second eleven match. The extent of the injury is currently being determined and we should have a clear picture at the end of the week.
Middlesex CCC is pleased to announce the following 14-man squad to play against Hampshire: Eoin Morgan (captain), Joe Burns, Nick Compton, Neil Dexter, Steven Finn, James Franklin, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Dawid Malan, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson, Nathan Sowter.