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SQUAD & PREVIEW | SUSSEX SHARKS V MIDDLESEX | VITALITY BLAST

4 months ago | Squads

MIDDLESEX NAME THIRTEEN MAN SQUAD TO FACE SUSSEX SHARKS AT HOVE IN LATEST VITALITY BLAST ENCOUNTER

First Team Coach Richard Johnson has named a thirteen-man squad to head down to Hove on the South Coast to take on Sussex Sharks in our fourth Vitality Blast encounter of the season on Friday night.

Middlesex head into the clash as the South Group leaders, having won all three of their opening matches in this season's Blast campaign, and they'll face a Sussex side tomorrow who bounced back from defeats in their opening two encounters against Glamorgan and Gloucestershire, to record victories against Kent on Sunday and against previously unbeaten Somerset on Wednesday night in Taunton in some style.

Middlesex are forced into making changes to their squad, as both Blake Cullen and Eoin Morgan miss out on the trip to Hove. Morgan is absent, having left the field with a mild groin strain during Middlesex's last encounter at Radlett, whilst Blake Cullen has been diagnosed with some bone stress in his lower back and will face a significant period of time on the side-lines recovering. The Club's medical team are hopeful that he will be back and bowling before the end of the season.

Mark Stoneman comes into the squad, having impressed in the short format with Middlesex's Second Eleven recently, hitting fast scoring knocks in the Second Eleven T20 matches against both Sussex and Essex, and Australian left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff looks set to start, having now settled into the Club, and he'll be raring to go after a few days of training with the squad this week.

When speaking to the Club at training earlier this week, Johnson said he'd been most pleased with his sides adaptability, in that they've been able to manufacture three victories from three very different game situations - posting a huge total in the opening encounter against Gloucestershire and defending it comfortably, posting a par score at the Ageas Bowl against Hampshire having been on the back foot initially in their innings and then defending it resolutely, and then bowling to plans to restrict Glamorgan to a below par total at Radlett and then chasing it down.

He's been equally as impressed by the way that all players are sticking their hands up and contributing, with both runs and wickets coming from all areas of the side, which has led to Middlesex playing with a new found freedom and confidence throughout the ranks.

They'll be in good spirits and high in confidence heading down to Hove, however Sussex's recent revival is cause for concern, especially playing in front of a largely partisan Sussex crowd tomorrow night. Middlesex will need to be at their very best to stifle the runs of Luke Wright, Ravi Bopara, Josh Phillippe, Tom Alsop and Delray Rawlins at the top of the order, and see off the threat of Tymal Mills, former Middlesex man Steven Finn, and West Indies quick Obed McCoy with the ball - with the latter picking up a five wicket haul against Somerset.

Middlesex will be looking for skipper Stephen Eskinazi to once again lead from the front with the bat, with the opener averaging 42 in the competition to this point, whilst Max Holden, Joe Cracknell and Jack Davies are also weighing in with powerful knocks up the order, and with the ball the wickets have been shared around, with all six bowlers that Middlesex have used up until now in and amongst the wickets.

It looks, on paper, to be a closely matched affair, and Middlesex will be keen to get the job done down in Hove to further cement their position at the top of the group table ahead of another away trip to Canterbury on Sunday.

Middlesex name the following thirteen-man squad for tomorrow's encounter with Sussex in Hove:

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Related fixture

Fri 03 June
Vitality Blast - South
The 1st Central County Ground
Start Time: 19:00
Duration: 1 day

Sussex Sharks Sussex Sharks
Middlesex Middlesex

Sussex Sharks won by 5 wickets (DLS method)
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