After a thrilling four run victory at a wet and rainy Lord’s last night, Middlesex head to Canterbury this evening to take on a Kent Spitfires side in another crucial NatWest T20 Blast encounter, with their sights set on consecutive victories that will put them right in the mix at the top of the South Group table.
A brilliant match winning knock by Middlesex Captain Dawid Malan, in which he smashed a superb 53 not out off 28 balls, including four maximums, saw Middlesex hold their nerve with the ball as Somerset tried in vain to chase down their victory target of 93 in 9 overs. Much credit must go to the ground staff at the Home of Cricket last night, as with much of London grinding to a halt with localised flooding and prolonged heavy rain, Mick Hunt and his crew worked tirelessly to ensure the crowd at Lord’s enjoyed a night to remember.
In what proved to be an enthralling rain reduced affair at the Home of Cricket, Malan’s Man of the Match winning performance in front of the live Sky cameras saw his side bounce back from the disappointment of a loss in their previous clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval, to secure their third win of this campaign, to take them to seven points from six games played, and fifth place in the group, just two points off the top of the table.
Middlesex will again head into the fixture without England’s One-Day and T20 Captain Eoin Morgan within their ranks, who is with England on ODI action, as is Steven Finn, who whilst available for last night’s clash, is replaced in the squad by James Harris this evening. Mitchell McClenaghan flies home to New Zealand today, having been ruled out of the rest of the competition with a long-term hip injury, whilst Brendon McCullum will make his final group appearance in the pink shirt of Middlesex this evening, although will return for the Seaxes later in the campaign should they qualify for the knockout stages of the Blast.
Kent themselves have struggled to find consistency in the short format of the game this term and head into this fixture against Middlesex having lost four of the six matches they’ve played to date in this year’s campaign and on the back of defeats in their last two outings to Glamorgan and Sussex.
Whilst their form hasn’t hit the highs that they’d have hoped for this year, Kent are always tough T20 opponents and will be looking to salvage their own campaign at home this evening under the floodlights, and with the likes of Daniel Bell-Drummond, former Middlesex man Joe Denly and Sam Northeast all in the runs this year, Middlesex will have to be at their best with the ball at the St Lawrence Ground this evening if they are to secure the back to back victory that will further cement their own South Group ambitions this year.
Middlesex have named the following 14-man squad to play in the NatWest T20 Blast match against Kent at Canterbury tonight, Friday 24 June:
Dawid Malan (captain), Stephen Eskinazi, James Franklin, James Fuller, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Ryan Higgins, Brendon McCullum, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson, Nathan Sowter, Paul Stirling.