Middlesex head to the Ageas Bowl in Southampton tomorrow to take on a Hampshire side who have had an equally impressive a start to this year’s fifty over campaign - where both sides will put their 100% records on the line!
It was all the way back in 2011 when Middlesex last started a List-A campaign with back to back victories, however after confidently dispatching both Essex and Gloucestershire in their opening two Royal London One-Day Cup matches this term, Dawid Malan’s men can rightly head to the South Coast high in confidence and looking to secure another victory to make it three from three.
The manner of Middlesex’s opening two victories over the Easter weekend contrasted in style dramatically - though not in the ruthlessness in how they were delivered. Against Essex it was all about steel and courage as Malan’s men showed plenty of fight to wrestle victory away from Essex in a tough clash at Chelmsford, whilst at Lord’s yesterday they were composed and clinical in how they chased a Gloucestershire total down in real style with almost eight overs to spare.
The changes that Middlesex’s new Coaching team of Stuart Law and Nic Pothas have implemented are clearly working on the park, with the side looking a much more confident outfit and a much sharper unit in the field. The batting line up looks much more balanced - with the front end loaded with power hitters and stroke players to maximise the power-play overs, whilst Eskinazi and Gubbins coming in at five and six offers plenty of energy and stability in the middle, with Scott and Roland-Jones at seven and eight offering plenty more power and long handle late in the innings.
So a really encouraging start to the longer of the two white-ball campaigns under Law, although against Hampshire tomorrow his side will face tough opposition in a side who have become something of a white-ball specialist outfit in recent years and who lifted the trophy at Lord’s last summer.
James Vince’s side again look a formidable outfit this year and opened up their own campaign with a convincing 90 run demolition of a Kent and followed up with an equally impressive seven wicket win against Glamorgan, with Vince himself looking in menacing form already with knocks of 105* and 95 to his name.
Always a tough place to go, Middlesex will need to be at their very best tomorrow at the Ageas Bowl to overturn a Hampshire side that will contain former Middlesex man James Fuller - no doubt who will have his tail up for an outing against his old teammates!
Law names a squad of thirteen for tomorrow’s clash, with just one change from the side that were available for the Gloucestershire game at Lord’s, as Steven Finn comes in to replace James Harris in a like for like shuffle of the pace ranks.
Dawid Malan (Captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)