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Middlesex CCC v Somerset CCC: Match Preview

over 8 years ago | Uncategorised

Middlesex head to Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood on Saturday for the return LV= County Championship Division One fixture with Somerset CCC, hoping to do ‘the double’ over their visitors from Taunton, having beaten the West Country men in a closely fought encounter at the County Ground back in late April.

When the sides met down in Taunton earlier this season Middlesex had James Franklin and Adam Voges to thank for their victory, who when chasing a huge victory target of 402, hit centuries on a thrilling final day of the game to secure Middlesex their first victory of the 2015 campaign.

Middlesex go into the game in second place in the Division One table, on the back of a well-earned draw with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last week, which followed their victory over a struggling Hampshire side at Lord’s the week before.

The Seaxes will be hoping to return to winning ways at Merchant Taylors’ to keep the pressure on league leaders Yorkshire, who continue to steamroller their way through the division and remain the side to beat.

Somerset have themselves rallied well of late after a shaky start to their campaign, winning two and drawing one of their last three Championship encounters, which has seen them move up to fifth place in the Division One table.

Whilst current form has seen the Taunton side head in the right direction, they’ll still be keeping an eye on what’s going on behind them, as whilst they sit in fifth spot, they’re just six points ahead of Worcestershire who sit in the relegation zone despite their recent innings victory over Hampshire.

The main threat from the visitors’ batting ranks comes from the experienced James Hildreth, who with 813 Championship runs is the club’s leading run scorer and tops their averages at 50.81, although whilst Marcus Trescothick has yet to find the form we all know he is capable of, his wicket will be one that the Middlesex attack will look to bag early.

With the ball there are threats aplenty, with wickets spread amongst Somerset’s four strong seam attack. Craig Overton leads the way, with 29 wickets, whilst Lewis Gregory with 26, Alfonso Thomas with 23 and Tim Groenewald with 22, means that there’ll be little let up for the Middlesex batsmen.

Should Somerset opt for spin in their attack, then Pakistani Abdur Rehman is their preferred option, although with just 10 wickets to his name this term, he’s failed to have the impact that Somerset would have hoped.

Middlesex’s Dawid Malan, fresh from a return to the side after a second lengthy spell on the side-lines through injury, comes into the game having hit the highest score of his first-class career to date against Nottinghamshire, when hitting a majestic unbeaten 182.

Nick Compton will be keen to build on an outstanding start to the season against the side he left to re-join Middlesex at the start of the year, and with 707 runs to his name, Compton is Middlesex’s leading run scorer this term in the Championship.

With 50 Championship wickets already this term, James Harris is Division One’s leading wicket-taker and if he can maintain the form he’s shown already this year, then there’s nothing to suggest that he won’t add to that tally over the coming four days.

Whilst Harris has been Middlesex’s stand out performer with the ball, much like Somerset, wickets have been spread amongst the other bowlers in the unit, with both Roland-Jones and Finn on 23 wickets, Rayner on 20 and Murtagh on 18.

With Middlesex needing a victory at Merchant Taylors’ to strengthen their claims at the top of the table and Somerset looking to continue the form that’s seen them climb up the table in recent weeks, the clash at Northwood should be an enthralling encounter.

Middlesex have named the following 14-man squad to play at Merchant Taylors' School: James Franklin (c), Joe Burns, Nick Compton, Steven Finn, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Tim Murtagh, Ravi Patel, Ollie Rayner, Sam Robson, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson.

On day one gates open at 11am with the match due to start at 12pm. On all other days gates will open at 10am with play starting at 11am.

Tickets can be bought on the gate and cost £15 for adults, £10 for over 65s and £5 for under 16s.


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