Middlesex head to Chelmsford tomorrow evening looking to do the double over Essex and maintain their winning ways in the Vitality Blast.
Heading towards an emphatic victory against Gloucestershire last Sunday at Radlett, just three wickets down, the players and umpires were forced to hastily flee the field and dive for cover as the Brunton Memorial Ground was hit by near monsoon conditions, causing the game to be abandoned with Middlesex ahead of the DLS target by 9 runs.
That victory took Middlesex back to second in the South Group table, just two points behind leaders Sussex, and well placed to secure a place in the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2016.
Once again it was Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan who stole the headlines at Radlett, earning himself the man of the match award, as his magnificent unbeaten 91, scored off just 59 balls, saw him cement his third place position in the competition’s leading run-scorers charts.
It seems like an age ago when Middlesex beat Essex at Lord’s in the opening match of their 2019 campaign, and Head Coach Stuart Law will be hoping his side can put on an equally dominant display against them again tomorrow at Chelmsford.
Essex themselves have yet to live up to their normal standards in this format of the game and sit seventh in the table with just two wins to their name from a disappointing campaign to date. Cameron Delport leads the way with the bat for Essex, with 233 runs, although 129 of those came in a staggering knock against Surrey off just 49 balls early in the campaign.
Australian Adam Zampa is the Eagles’ leading wicket-taker, although with just seven wickets to this point he lags some way behind Middlesex’s four leading bowlers, Steven Finn, with 17, Toby Roland-Jones and Nathan Sowter, both with 16, and Tom Helm, with 14. All four of Middlesex’s top bowlers sit within the top seven of the competition’s leading wicket-takers.
Tomorrow will be Mujeeb ur Rahman’s final group game for Middlesex, as he will return to Afghanistan, having been recalled by his countries cricket board, although Middlesex are boosted by the addition of Pakistan international Mohammad Hafeez, who the club announced today will join up with Middlesex for the final five Vitality Blast group games.
Stuart Law names the following 15 man squad for tomorrow’s clash in Chelmsford…
Dawid Malan (C)
John Simpson (WK)
Mujeeb ur Rahman