Having got their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign off to a winning start against Essex yesterday on the competition’s opening day, Middlesex have names an unchanged squad for their first home clash of the campaign, when they’ll take on Gloucestershire at Lord’s tomorrow.
Whilst Captain Dawid Malan led from the front against Essex, hitting a sublime 95 to take him past 5,000 career List-A runs, it was Nathan Sowter who stole all the headlines, as the leg-spinner claimed career best figures of 6 for 62 to swing the game in Middlesex’s favour after the hosts had looked well placed to launch an assault on Middlesex’s total.
An early victory in the competition sees Middlesex returning to Lord’s tomorrow full of confidence having beaten a strong Essex side away in the List-A format for the first time since 2012. After a battling performance they can take plenty of positives into the clash with Gloucestershire - not least of all the fighting spirit shown and the weight of runs added down the order by Nick Gubbins and George Scott. Often good starts have been wasted by Middlesex in the past, with firm innings’ foundations not being built upon. Yesterday however an inspired change in the batting line up from Head Coach Stuart Law saw Gubbins drop down to six in the order and hit a superb run-a-ball 56 to build momentum for Scott to then come in and smash a quick-fire 63 off just 30 balls, adding crucial runs at the end of the innings to take Middlesex to a winning total.
Sowter however was the real standout performer, as he bamboozled the Essex batters with an exceptional display of leg-spin bowling - all started with another trademark stunning caught and bowled to dismiss the dangerous Tom Westley.
Whilst delighted with the opening day win against a tough opponent in Essex, Head Coach Law was keen to point out that there is still much to work on, as he looks to turn an undoubtedly talented Middlesex side into a white-ball side to be reckoned with.
Recent clashes against Gloucestershire have favoured Middlesex, who’ve won three of the last four List-A match-ups, although with new plans being implemented and new things being introduced into Middlesex’s game, the form book may as well be discarded - this is a new era!
Back at Lord’s tomorrow Law is keen to build on those early signs of improvement from Chelmsford and wants his side to take the game to Gloucestershire, play with courage and aggression, and deliver on the plans and strategies that he and his Assistant Nic Pothas have been working with the side on in recent weeks.
If the performance against Essex is anything to go by, there’s plenty of early signs for Middlesex fans to be encouraged by, as the new Law and Pothas regime begins to take effect.
Middlesex go into the Gloucestershire clash unchanged, naming the following thirteen-man squad...
Dawid Malan (Captain)
John Simpson (Wicket-keeper)