It was less than a week ago that Middlesex travelled to Taunton with qualification to the Vitality Blast knockout stages hanging in the balance! After a jittery finish to what had to that point been an impressive T20 campaign, anything other than a win against Somerset last Friday would have seen the Seaxes eliminated from the competition!
What transpired down in the West Country was simply sensational, as Middlesex put on a real show and silenced the partisan home crowd, setting a new English T20 record when chasing down Somerset’s mammoth total of 226 to leapfrog them and bag themselves a place in the quarter-finals.
A third-place finish in the South Group was the outcome of that result and Middlesex’s reward was an away tie at Trent Bridge, where they’ll take on the Notts Outlaws tomorrow in the second of this week’s four quarter-final knockout games.
The T20 history books don’t make for great reading for Middlesex, with the club only qualifying for the quarter-final stages on three occasions – in 2005 and 2016, when Leicestershire and Northamptonshire won through to Finals Day, and in 2008, when Middlesex beat Lancashire in the quarters, Durham in the semis and then Kent in the final to be crowned T20 champions for the first and only time.
Nottinghamshire on the other hand are seasoned qualifiers, having reached the quarter-final stages on ten separate occasions prior to this year’s campaign. They have however won just four of those ten quarter-final knockouts games and have suffered defeat in six of them. Like Middlesex, the Outlaws have won the tournament just once – in 2017 when they beat Warwickshire in the final.
Past records count for little though in a one-off knockout tie, and Middlesex can head into tomorrow’s quarter-final high in confidence after that incredible game against Somerset, and quite rightly so, as on their day Stuart Law’s side are a match for anyone. At Taunton it was most certainly their day, and anything close to a repeat of last Friday’s performance will give the Seaxes a great chance of progressing to Finals Day at Edgbaston.
Tomorrow night’s match promises to be a terrific encounter, between two strong sides, with an array of match-winners in either camp. For Middlesex, a top four of Dawid Malan, Paul Stirling, AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan are enough to put the fear of God into any bowling line-up, whilst for the Outlaws, Alex Hales, Dan Christian and Ben Duckett offer plenty of artillery firepower for the home side.
With the ball Middlesex have the edge, with each of Steven Finn, Toby Roland-Jones, Tom Helm and Nathan Sowter all having taken fifteen or more wickets. For the Outlaws only Harry Gurney has claimed the same volume of wickets, and this could be where the difference between the two sides lies.
Middlesex announced earlier today that Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman has returned to the club for tomorrow’s quarter-final clash, and he comes back into the side to replace Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez, who has now departed after his brief stay with the club.
Stuart Law has named the following fourteen-man squad for tomorrow’s clash…
Dawid Malan (c)
AB de Villiers
John Simpson (wk)
Mujeeb ur Rahman
Watch the game live.....due to broadcast restrictions, neither Middlesex nor Nottinghamshire are able to stream the game live on their websites, however supporters who are unable to attend the quarter-final at Trent Bridge can catch all the action by watching the game live on Sky Cricket, who will be broadcasting the match on Channel 401 from 6.55pm