Another disappointing defeat last night in the Vitality Blast at the Kia Oval to London rivals Surrey saw Middlesex slip to their sixth consecutive defeat in the competition and remain in seventh place in the South group table.
Once again it was a lack of runs that was Middlesex's undoing, as batting first, having been stuck in by Surrey, the visitors failed to post a competitive total on what looked to be a decent batting surface at the Oval.
Despite starts for Stephen Eskinazi, Joe Cracknell, John Simpson, and Luke Hollman, none were capitalised upon, and the regular fall of wickets thwarted any late push in the Middlesex innings. The Surrey attack was cleverly deployed, with Sunil Narine and Chris Jordan both held back for the middle to late overs, again stifling any late charge from the Middlesex order and halting any opportunity to post a meaningful target.
In reply, Surrey's batters made it look all too easy, with opener Will Jacks hitting 43 off 20 at the top of the order. The job was finished with an unbeaten 37 from Ollie Pope and an unbeaten 51 from Narine, who took their side to victory at the start of the sixteenth over to maintain their unbeaten start to the competition and secure their seventh win from eight games played. The victory saw them move three points clear at the top of the group ahead of Somerset and four points clear of Essex in third.
Middlesex need to rediscover the form they found in the early part of the competition that saw them win their opening three matches, and they have to do so now. With just five matches remaining in the South Group, progress to the knockout stages isn't yet beyond them, but they'll need to win at least four of those five remaining games to give themselves any hope at all.
Tomorrow they take on bottom side Kent, who themselves have won only two of the nine games they've played to date, and Middlesex must be targeting this clash as the game to turn things around and rebuild their campaign.
The return fixture down in Canterbury saw Kent secure one of their two victories, as Joe Denly proved to be the difference between the two sides, when he hit a blistering century off just 50 balls, which kickstarted a good run of form for the Spitfires opener. Middlesex will be targeting the wicket of Denly as the crucial one at Lord's tomorrow, as aside of some decent knocks from Jordan Clark, the majority of Kent's batters have struggled to find any form.
For those not attending the match, then the best way to keep up to date with the game is by watching the Club's live and enhanced stream, brought to you by iShares, available via the match centre on the Middlesex website, or direct on our YouTube channel.
Tomorrow we'll be unveiling something really special at the toss, so make sure you're with us, either in person or on the live stream, to see what it's all about.
For what can only be described as a must-win clash for Stephen Eskinazi's side, Middlesex have named the following unchanged thirteen man squad: