After two successful opening encounters in the Royal London One-Day Cup against Essex and Gloucestershire, Middlesex’s winning run was brought to an end by a strong Hampshire outfit at the Ageas Bowl yesterday, as they crashed to a 119 run loss to the defending champions.
No shame in losing to Hampshire, who now have three wins from three, as James Vince’s side are a match for anyone on their day, although the size of Hampshire’s victory has put a sizeable dent in Middlesex’s net run rate. Whether that becomes an important factor as the group stages progress remains to be seen. Tom Helm’s form was one point of encouragement from the Ageas Bowl yesterday, as the young paceman picked up five wickets to record the best List-A figures of his career to date - 5 for 71.
Stuart Law’s men head south of the Thames to the Kia Oval tomorrow to resume London rivalries with Surrey, where Middlesex must get on the front foot early to take control of a game that they really must win if they are to mount a serious challenge for the knockout stages of the competition this time round.
Victory tomorrow for Middlesex would put the Seaxes firmly back on course for the knockout stages, and against a Surrey side struggling to find form of their own they’ll never have a better chance to do so. A stuttering start to Surrey’s campaign saw them rolled for just 88 in their opening clash against Gloucestershire, before they then went down to Sussex by a tighter two wicket margin on Good Friday. They finally got a win under their belts yesterday, as a four wicket haul from Morne Morkel and a fine knock of 82 from Ben Foakes helped them to a 65 run victory over Essex at the Oval.
New Zealand’s Ross Taylor is now available for Middlesex having arrived in London this week, and he is expected to slot straight into the side, which will give Dawid Malan’s side just the lift it needs after a disappointing display with the bat against Hampshire. The big-hitting Kiwi comes to Middlesex in the form of his life, averaging 97 in ODI’s over the last year and currently ranked as the world’s number three batsman in the ICC world ODI rankings.
Middlesex make just one change to the squad that travelled to the Ageas Bowl, with the addition of Taylor to the batting ranks.
Middlesex’s fourteen man squad is as follows:
Dawid Malan (Captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)