Middlesex are boosted by the news that England white-ball Captain Eoin Morgan could feature, after missing the last fifty-over clash against Hampshire with a chipped bone in his finger. Morgan was initially also expected to miss Sunday’s clash, however the left-hander has been named in a fourteen-man Middlesex squad, and could well make a return ahead of schedule tomorrow at Lord’s. His presence in the side will provide a major boost to Middlesex’s chances of success.
In opposition at the Home of Cricket tomorrow will be London rivals Surrey, who, like Middlesex, will be pushing hard for a victory that would keep alive their own hopes of qualifying and remaining in the tournament after a recent heavy defeat to Kent that saw them drop to second bottom in the table, with only Glamorgan beneath them.
In what is an incredibly tight South Group, both sides know that victory at Lord’s tomorrow will see them back in the hunt and heading into their final group match with qualification still possible, whilst defeat would in all likelihood make progression extremely difficult.
Having won three consecutive matches earlier in the group stages to take themselves to second spot in the table, Middlesex’s prospects of qualifying were looking good, however, defeats to Somerset and Hampshire in their latest two outings have applied the brakes, and has seen Steven Finn’s men drop right back into a pack of seven sides fighting to join table toppers Hampshire in hoping to qualify for one of three knockout places up for grabs.
Last time out at Merchant Taylors’ School Middlesex were unable to post a defendable target batting first against Hampshire - setting the visitors a target of just 200. In a match reduced to 45 overs, Middlesex’s total of 199 always looked to be under par, and so it proved, as Hampshire strengthened their position at the top of the table with a comprehensive five wicket win, reaching their victory target in just 38.4 overs.
Surrey too will come to Lord’s tomorrow on the back of a recent defeat, with the visitors suffering a humiliating loss in their last outing - on the wrong end of an absolute hiding from Kent, going down by a staggering 220 runs in Beckenham. Bowling first Surrey conceded a whopping 384 runs with the ball, before being rolled for just 164 in less than 31 overs with only Jason Roy and Rory Burns making significant contributions with the bat.
Surrey were initially hoping that Virat Kohli would be in their ranks for tomorrow’s London derby, however spectators at Lord’s will miss out on the chance to see one of the world’s greatest batsmen on display, after injury ruled the Indian out of his planned brief spell with Surrey. In the visitors’ ranks however will be the experienced South African paceman Morne Morkel, and Test opener Mark Stoneman, who has returned to Surrey having been dropped by England for the current Test at Headingley. Add in the likes of Jason Roy, Tom Curran, Jade Dernbach et al, and you know that Finn’s men will need to be at their very best to get through another tough group game tomorrow.
Middlesex will need to pull on all the qualities that have already seen them secure victories against Kent, Glamorgan and Sussex, and despite those recent losses, Captain Steven Finn is confident that his side can regain that winning form and get one over their London rivals tomorrow on home soil.
A win for Middlesex tomorrow would see them move to eight points from seven games played, with one remaining clash against Gloucestershire to come next Wednesday in Bristol. With eight of the nine South Group sides all in action on Sunday, the table will be looking a lot clearer come the end of tomorrow.
Middlesex Head Coach Richard Scott has named the following fourteen-man squad for the visit of Surrey to Lord’s...
Steven Finn (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)