With six out of the seven scheduled Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures last Sunday washed out with no result possible, both Middlesex and their next opponents, Lancashire, are set to kick off their campaigns in earnest up in Blackpool on Wednesday, as the two sides meet for the first time in a List-A clash since 2012.
The two matches in 2012 contrasted wildly in fortune for Middlesex, with us romping to victory at Lord’s, hitting our highest ever List-A total, 350 for 6 in forty overs, as both Eoin Morgan and Paul Stirling smashed quick-fire centuries to see us to victory by a margin of 167 runs, whilst up at Old Trafford Lancashire got their revenge, as they dismissed us for just 97 and strolled to a seven wicket victory themselves.
Middlesex will be hopeful that Paul Stirling comes through a late fitness check ahead of Wednesday’s clash, after he picked up a calf injury whilst playing with Ireland in the ICC World T20 qualifiers, and if he does, the Seaxes will head into the clash at Blackpool with a full strength batting line-up at their disposal, with captain Eoin Morgan leading the charge from the front. Middlesex will also have high hopes that John Simpson, who topped the county’s run scoring and averages lists in the recently completed NatWest T20 Blast campaign, with 367 runs at over 45, will be able to continue that form in the fifty over competition.
Middlesex’s bowling ranks are boosted by the recent addition of Pakistan international paceman Junaid Khan, who has joined the club as an overseas replacement for Joe Burns, who departed Lord’s earlier this month to team up with the Australia-A squad on their tour to India. Khan is expected to start at Blackpool, as a replacement for Steven Finn, who sits this one out, having been named in the England squad for the third Investec Ashes Test at Edgbaston.
Having missed out narrowly on qualification to the knockout stages in each of the last four seasons in the One-Day competition, Middlesex are full of optimism ahead of this tournament, and with the make-up of the current squad look well set to surpass the achievements of previous years.
Lancashire themselves will also be keen to better last year’s performance in the Royal London One-Day Cup, as in a year to forget, not only did they suffer relegation to Division Two of the LV= County Championship, the Lancastrians only managed two victories in the One-Day format and finished second bottom of their group. If the form of Lancashire this year is anything to go by, Wednesday’s trip to Blackpool will prove anything but straightforward for Middlesex, as the northerners currently sit at the peak of the Division Two table and secured qualification into the quarter finals of the NatWest T20 Blast.
Middlesex have named the following 15-man squad to play against Lancashire at Blackpool CC:
Eoin Morgan (c), Nick Compton, Neil Dexter, James Franklin, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Junaid Khan, Dawid Malan, Ravi Patel, Ollie Rayner, Sam Robson, Toby Roland-Jones, Gurjit Sandhu, John Simpson, Paul Stirling.