Middlesex have named a strong 12-player squad for their first county match at Lord's - the London Cup against Surrey.
The batting line-up is particularly strong with opener Cordelia Griffith in fine form following her maiden century on Sunday against Somerset and a fifty on Monday. Middlesex and England allrounder Sophia Dunkley has continued her successful summer scoring 54 and 74 not out and has now amassed 451 runs at the impressive season average of 112.75. T20 wicketkeeper Amara Carr scored 105 captaining Devon against Middlesex on Sunday and will look to carry on from where she left off in her first outing in pink of the season. T20 skipper Natasha Miles also batted well scoring 34 and an unbeaten 37 over the weekend and will look to continue her form and the team's 100% success rate in the London Cup. Vice-captain Dattani was striking the ball well on Sunday before popping up a catch departing for 19 but could be crucial in scoring quick runs at the top of the order. With strong batting depth in the Middlesex squad Beth Morgan and Olivia Rae have had few opportunities of late but will be looking to add some runs at the back-end of the innings or will add stability to the batting if the side has suffered a collapse before using their experience to increase the run rate, making the most of the fast outfield.
With ball in hand Middlesex are likely to open with T20 recruit Lauren Bell, a member of the England Women's Academy, who is a quick bowler and has enjoyed success with Berkshire in the County Championship this year claiming 11 wickets at an average of 13.36. Gayatri Gole returned impressive figures of 3-16 from her 8 overs against Devon, while fellow opening quick - Katie Wolfe - took a hat-trick to secure Middlesex a 32-run win over Somerset. In the spin department the hosts will look to the legspin of Dunkley and offspinners Emma Albery and Bhavika Gajipra to build pressure on the batters and squeeze economical overs in where possible. The spinners have bowled well in tandem, often forcing a batter to play a loose shot to take a wicket.
Surrey held the inaugural London Cup at the Kia Oval which was, for many players, the first time they had played on an iconic venue and now the fifth fixture is being held on the main pitch at the Home of Cricket - a ground most of Surrey’s side will not have played at. Surrey and England allrounder Bryony Smith is yet to walk onto the hallowed turf and if the moment does not get the better of her is a key wicket for Middlesex. Smith has accrued 347 at 57.83 in the County Championship and also bowls tidy off-spin. Left-handed batter Aylish Cranstone is also an important player in Surrey's squad, she has hit 133 runs at an average of 26.60 this season. Skipper Hannah Jones has taken 10 wickets at 21 with her off breaks and will hope to add to her haul today. Middlesex batters will also need to be careful when at the crease as Rhianna Southby, a member of England’s winter training squad, takes the gloves for the South London side.
Remarking on the momentous occasion, Rae said, “it’s a historic day and it demonstrates what massive strides the women’s game is taking. From a playing perspective though, it’s the same as any other day of cricket. I’m sure I’ll look around and have to pinch myself but above all I’ve got to do the job in hand like on any other pitch. Give my all at any opportunity that comes my way in the game.”
Head down to Lord's to support Middlesex as they look to continue their winning streak in this annual fixture. The T20 match starts at 4pm and is £5.
Natasha Miles (C)
Amara Carr (WK)
Contributed by Georgia Isaac, Middlesex Women’s Media Assistant