Having secured the most incredible victory over Somerset in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship on Wednesday, when after four days of hard toil John Simpson sent a ball from Jim Allenby sailing over the square leg boundary to secure the win, Middlesex take on Somerset again on Friday evening, this time with the white ball in the NatWest T20 Blast. Middlesex captain, Dawid Malan, will be hoping that the courage and determination his Middlesex side showed over the four days in the Championship clash can rub off in this format, as after two successive losses in the short format of the game, the Seaxes urgently need to return to winning ways to get their challenge for a knockout berth well and truly back on track!
Last time out at Richmond, in front of a record 4,000 crowd at Old Deer Park, Middlesex’s batting line up struggled to come to terms with a quality Glamorgan attack, when only managing to hit 144 in their allotted 20 overs, although a recovery from 39 for 5 is testament to the quality and depth Malan’s side have within their ranks. In reply, Glamorgan made surprising ease of their chase, surpassing Middlesex’s total in the seventeenth over, with 21 balls to spare, to drop Middlesex to seventh in the table. The only high points for Middlesex, in what a distinctly under par performance with both bat and ball, other than the brief respite that recovery offered, were half centuries from England white ball skipper, Eoin Morgan, and from the talented Ryan Higgins.
Despite Middlesex suffering recent back to back losses, they’re able to thank their early campaign form for only being one point off third place in the South Group, with games in hand on the sides around them, so returning to winning ways in the West Country will more than keep the Seaxes quarter final aspirations within reach. With five games remaining in their South Group campaign, Middlesex must surely be looking to win three of those to progress in the competition, adding greater importance to this Friday night clash at what will be a packed out Taunton County Ground.
Middlesex name a fourteen-man squad for this crucial South Group encounter, and they are buoyed by the inclusion of paceman Toby Roland-Jones, with him returning from Lord’s, having been not selected within the starting eleven for England in the Test match versus Pakistan. His return to the bowling ranks will add some experience and quality to the Middlesex attack for the trip to Taunton.
Fourteen-man squad as follows:
Malan (c) Bailey, Eskinazi, Franklin, Fuller, Gubbins, Harris, Higgins, Morgan, Podmore, Rayner, Roland-Jones, Simpson, Sowter.