Middlesex’s final LV= County Championship match of the season gets underway on Tuesday in the picturesque surroundings of New Road, Worcester, with the Seaxes taking on an already relegated Worcestershire side.
James Franklin will be looking for a strong finish from his side as they look to secure the points they need to guarantee a second place finish in the table; which would equal their highest finish in the first-class competition since 1995 when Warwickshire pipped them to the title.
With Nottinghamshire picking up a decent bonus points tally last week in their draw against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, they’ve kept up the pressure on the Seaxes, with the gap closing to just twelve points.
For Middlesex, the equation is simple; secure twelve points against Worcestershire this week and second place will be banked, irrespective of how Nottinghamshire fair against Hampshire at Trent Bridge.
Middlesex head into this week’s encounter in exceptional form, having won four and drawn three of their last seven County Championship matches, with that solitary defeat against Yorkshire at Headingley in June being the only defeat of what has been a terrific campaign thus far.
Only the consistency of a brilliant Yorkshire side this term has hampered Middlesex’s hopes of lifting the title for the first time since 1993, however in beating the recently crowned 2015 Champions at Lord’s a fortnight ago, in what was a mesmerising advertisement for the format, Middlesex showed what an impressive unit they have become.
Whilst Worcestershire now face at least a season of cricket in the second division from next year, as their fight for top flight survival came to an end last week in Chester-le-Street, they will be desperately keen to put on a good performance in front of their home crowd this week as the curtain comes down on the 2015 season.
With Middlesex heading to New Road on the back of that historic victory over Yorkshire at Lord’s, confidence will be high in the camp that they can get the job done and secure second place, and with the club naming a strong unchanged 14-man squad, Middlesex must surely be favourites to do so...
Franklin (captain), Compton, Dexter, Eskinazi, Harris, Malan, Murtagh, Patel, Podmore, Rayner, Robson, Roland-Jones, Simpson and Stirling.
Steven Finn is being rested for this match as requested by England. Eoin Morgan was deemed not to be fit to play due to the concussion he sustained during England's final ODI match. Following a concussion a player is deemed to be fit to play again a week after they last showed symptoms of that concussion and unfortunately a week ago tomorrow Eoin was still showing symptoms.