Middlesex are back in Vitality Blast action tomorrow afternoon with an away trip to Beckenham, where they’ll take on a Kent side still very much in the hunt for one of the four knockout places up for grabs.
Kent, currently lying in fourth place in the South Group, have a two point buffer over Surrey in fifth spot with only three games remaining, and a win for the home side tomorrow would go a long way towards securing their qualification for the quarter-finals.
The point Essex gained last night from a rained off clash in Chelmsford against Gloucestershire saw the Eagles climb above Middlesex and Hampshire into seventh place and in turn dump the Seaxes to the bottom of the table.
Dan Vettori’s men will be desperate to end a losing run of five matches tomorrow to lift themselves off the bottom, in the hope of salvaging some pride from what has been a disappointing campaign to date.
After Middlesex’s loss to Gloucestershire in Bristol on Friday night, captain Dawid Malan spoke of his frustration at letting a good start with the ball slip away from them again - a problem which has plagued the Seaxes in too many games this terms.
The loss of key early wickets hampered any chance Middlesex had of chasing down Gloucestershire’s total of 242, and a 30 ball 51 from Stephen Eskinazi was the only real highlight from a run chase that fell seventy runs short.
Kent’s last encounter saw them share the points with Sussex last night down at a rain sodden Hove County Ground in a game which was totally washed out without a ball being bowled, and Middlesex will need to be at their very best tomorrow if they are to put an end to their current run of losses.
Runs have been flowing freely from the bats of Sam Billings, Jo Denly and Heino Kuhn for the Spitfires - all who are averaging over 40 in the Blast this season for the hosts.
With the ball they have been reliant on the pace of kiwi Adam Milne, who has eleven wickets this term at a miserly economy rate of a little over six runs per over, and on the spin of Joe Denly, who is the Spitfires’ leading wicket-taker with thirteen at a very healthy average of just sixteen.
Ollie Rayner, Max Holden and Steven Finn are not selected in the squad, as they are selected in the squad for Middlesex’s Second Eleven four-day red ball friendly clash against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl this week.
Daniel Vettori has named a 12 man squad for the trip to Beckenham, again led by captain Dawid Malan, as follows...
Dawid Malan (c)