A third win in four Royal London One-Day Cup matches saw Middlesex defeat London rivals Surrey at the Kia Oval yesterday and return to the top of the South Group table alongside Somerset and Hampshire.
After defeat last time out to Hampshire, Middlesex’s bid for a knockout place got right back on track as a superb knock of 64 on debut from New Zealand’s Ross Taylor helped the Seaxes to a vital 37 run victory.
It was a far from straightforward victory for Middlesex however, who had to work hard with both bat and ball to secure the points, and Stuart Law’s side can take plenty of positives from this battling performance. A late order fightback with the bat saw his side post a defendable total of 277, before a composed and patient performance with the ball saw them strangle the life out of Surrey’s run chase.
Whilst Taylor’s fine 64 laid claim to the headlines, a quick-fire 45 from Toby Roland-Jones and an equally crucial 31 from Nathan Sowter were also the key factors in Middlesex posting a strong total which allowed them to control the game when ball was in hand. Four wickets apiece for leg-spinner Sowter and paceman Tom Helm were the standout bowling performances, as Surrey’s run chase ultimately fell short of Middlesex’s target.
Tomorrow the Seaxes return to Lord’s for their second home clash of the campaign, where they’ll be hoping to follow up on the convincing defeat of Gloucestershire last weekend. The weather could have a part to play however, as with the forecast looking like rain could feature, winning the toss and gaining some control of the conditions could be an important factor in who comes out on top.
Sussex come to Lord’s with their own campaign very much in the balance, as victory over Middlesex would see their claims for the knockout stages gather momentum, whereas defeat would see them stuck in the lower half of the group with a 50/50 record and with a struggle on their hands to qualify.
Wins against Surrey and Kent, followed by a rain affected loss to Somerset sees Sussex sat on four points from their opening three games, whilst Middlesex sit two points ahead on six. Whichever side wins at Lord’s tomorrow will take a significant step towards securing their own progress in the competition.
Stuart Law makes a number of changes to the squad for the clash at Lord’s as he names the following squad of fourteen:
Dawid Malan (Captain)
John Simpson (Wicket-keeper)