Steven Finn feels Middlesex’s Vitality Blast side possess similar qualities to the team that clinched the county’s first and only T20 triumph 11 years ago.
Finn, then still a teenager, was part of the Middlesex side that qualified for Finals Day in 2008 – although he missed out on the thrilling three-run victory over Kent that secured the trophy.
The Seaxes have advanced beyond the group stage only once since that day but, with four wins from their first six games, they look strongly placed going into Thursday’s sell-out clash against local rivals Surrey at Lord’s.
“One of the things that stood out back then was how everyone knew their role in the team and we’ve played virtually the same side in every game so far, apart from when we’ve had injuries,” said Finn.
“The make-up of the team is also very much the same. Everyone understands when they’re going to bowl and how they’re meant to bowl, and the communication is good as well.
“There are definitely signs that are similar and it helps having two world-class overseas players in AB de Villiers and Mujeeb Ur-Rahman, like we did back then with Tyron Henderson and Murali Kartik.
“We’re building momentum nicely and hopefully that means towards the back end of the campaign we can actually get into the knockout stages and compete for the trophy.”
Middlesex could complete a rare Blast double against their neighbours, who have won just once in the tournament so far and went down by 37 runs when the sides met at The Kia Oval a fortnight ago.
However, Surrey will have Sam Curran available and Finn added: “We know Surrey are a very good T20 team. They’ve got outstanding players all the way down.
“It’ll be a great occasion, in front of a full house at Lord’s, and they always seem to be tight games against Surrey somehow or other.
“But we look at it with optimism, having turned them over the week before last. If you get on a roll of winning games, playing the same team and knowing your roles within the team, I think that counts in your favour.”
Despite struggling with injuries in recent years, the 30-year-old seamer has been ever-present in this season’s Blast, as well as featuring five times in the Specsavers County Championship.
Finn’s lengthy service was rewarded recently when he finalised a contract extension until 2021 and he intends to spend the remainder of his career with Middlesex.
“You never know what might happen in the future but at the moment I wouldn’t dream of playing anywhere else,” he said. “I’ve spent my entire cricketing life at Middlesex, since the age of 13 or 14, so it means a lot.
“The experiences I’ve had, winning the T20 Cup in 2008, promotion to Division One and then winning the Championship in 2016 give me great memories.
“We’ve got a highly motivated group of guys, some of my best friends play for Middlesex and it’s a pleasure to turn up."
Article written by Ben Kosky of the ECB Reporters' Network.