A home defeat to Glamorgan at Old Deer Park in Richmond on Sunday saw Middlesex’s 2018 Vitality Blast campaign disappointingly come to a premature end with four of their South Group matches remaining,
Tomorrow they head down to Bristol to take on a Gloucestershire side who currently sit in joint second place in the group, with five games remaining, just one point adrift of Somerset in top spot.
Middlesex’s T20 record this season doesn’t make for great reading, having won just two of the ten games they’ve played - although injuries to key players, international call-ups, lack of form in some cases, and being unable to name a settled side from game to game, have all played a major part in that! Mathematically now unable to qualify, Daniel Vettori must rally his troops to play for pride for the remainder of the campaign.
A tough challenge awaits as historically Middlesex haven’t prospered well in previous away trips to Gloucestershire and have yet to record a victory there in six attempts, although they came mightily close to breaking that record last time out when tying a thrilling clash in Cheltenham.
The return fixture at Uxbridge in early July this year saw the visitors’ triumph by six wickets, and Middlesex will be keen to ensure they break their hoodoo against Gloucestershire tomorrow to avoid the hosts securing what would be their fifth ‘T20 double’ over Middlesex in the last nine seasons.
Gloucestershire skipper Michael Klinger continues to churn out runs in this form of the game for the West Countrymen and is their leading run-scorer again this term, with 252 runs at an average of 36, whilst with the ball Australian paceman Andrew Tye is their leading wicket-taker - with eleven wickets at an average of just 16.54.
For Middlesex Paul Stirling leads the way with the bat with 307 runs at 30.70, whilst James Fuller is the club’s leading strike bowler with ten wickets at 28.40.
Middlesex head to Bristol having made a few changes to their squad! Out are Nick Gubbins, who missed out on selection, and Tom Helm, who misses the clash having undergone a scan - he has a stress reaction in his back which will require six weeks rest from bowling. In comes Dawid Malan, who makes a welcome return to the side as skipper – returning to Middlesex having not been named in England squad for the second Test against India this week at Lord’s.
Daniel Vettori has named the following squad of fourteen for the trip to Bristol…
Dawid Malan (captain)