Middlesex return to Lord’s tomorrow evening for another Vitality Blast clash where they’ll take on one of the other form sides in the South group, Kent, who are the only side in the competition to maintain a 100% winning start.
With Middlesex sat second and Kent sat top of the table, tomorrow’s clash promises to be a thrilling encounter, played out in a great atmosphere in front of yet another full house at the Home of Cricket.
After three consecutive games on the road, in which Middlesex have picked up two victories against Surrey and Glamorgan, Stuart Law’s men will be looking forward to walking out in front of a home crowd at Lord’s again tomorrow, and Middlesex’s Head Coach has the luxury of a full-strength side at his disposal.
This in itself causes a pretty big selection headache for Law, although when your headache comes as a result of having three world-class players of the quality of Eoin Morgan, AB de Villiers and Paul Stirling to come back into your side, it’s not a bad headache to have! Quite who makes way for this blockbuster trio in tomorrow’s starting eleven remains to be seen.
Morgan returns from a well-earned post World Cup winning R&R break, de Villiers is expected to have recovered from damaged and bruised fingers which have sidelined him for Middlesex’s last two games, whilst Stirling returns to county duty after playing in Ireland’s recent Test match against England. When you consider that these three could well slot into the lineup alongside the competitions’ second highest run scorer, Dawid Malan (211 runs at 70.33), and Stephen Eskinazi (133 runs at 44.33), who sits just outside the top ten, you’re unquestionably looking at the most formidable top five of any side in the competition.
With the ball, Middlesex’s pace battery continues to deliver, with Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Helm currently two of the top three wicket taking bowlers in the competition. Roland-Jones (11 wickets at 10.54) leads the way, whilst Helm (9 wickets at 14.33) sits third in the list. With Steven Finn making up the pace trio and the spin duo of Nathan Sowter and Mujeeb ur Rahman completing the line-up, Middlesex’s bowling attack looks in great shape this term.
Tomorrow’s visitors Kent come into the clash off the back of their fourth straight win, secured last night against Surrey in a rain affected DLS affair at the Oval. Previous victories over Somerset, Hampshire and Essex see Kent sat on top with 8 points from 4 games, whilst Middlesex sit just 2 points behind on 6, with the only blemish on their record being that loss to Gloucestershire in an under par performance in Cheltenham.
Not a single Kent batsman sits in the top thirty run scorers in the competition at this stage and no one Kent batsman has yet to pass a hundred runs, although with the ball both Hardus Viljoen and Imran Qayyum feature inside the top ten wicket-takers!
Looking purely at the line-ups, man for man, you’d be hard pressed to bet against a Middlesex victory at Lord’s tomorrow, although Kent are unbeaten for a reason and Stuart Law’s men will need to be at their very best to secure the win which will take them back to joint top of the table.
Its promises to be a thriller at Lord’s and Stuart Law has named the following fourteen-man squad for tomorrow’s clash:
Dawid Malan (Captain)
AB de Villiers
John Simpson (Wicket-keeper)
Mujeeb ur Rahman