Middlesex head to Taunton to take on Somerset in the Royal London One Day Cup tomorrow in blistering form, on the back of five successive victories in three different forms of the game.
The club started their winning run down in Taunton two weeks ago with a thrilling Specsavers County Championship victory, secured off the penultimate ball of the game. They followed this up with three consecutive NatWest T20 Blast South Group wins that took them into the quarter finals, before then securing an impressive win on their return to Royal London One Day Cup action yesterday, when centuries from Eoin Morgan and Paul Stirling saw the Seaxes to a six wicket win over Kent at Lord’s.
With only three matches remaining in the Royal London One-Day Cup before the group stages reach an end, Middlesex will realistically be hoping to secure wins in two of those games to bank one of the four quarter final spots up for grabs. Currently sitting in fourth place on six points, courtesy of securing three wins from the five matches they’ve played to date, the clash with Somerset will be one game that James Franklin and his Middlesex side will be targeting for a win, having already got the better of them in both other formats in recent weeks.
Somerset will be hell bent on reversing those results however after suffering agonising final over defeats at the hands of Middlesex in both of those games, and with the West Country men currently sitting joint top of the South Group, although in second place on net run rate behind Essex, just one point ahead of Middlesex, they’ll be desperate to secure the victory themselves that will take them one step closer to the quarter finals. Ultimately, whichever side prevails after this one-day clash has been played out, will put themselves in the box seat for qualification into the knockout stages of the competition.
Recent Lord’s centurions, Paul Stirling and Eoin Morgan lead the run-scoring for Middlesex in the fifty over format with 260 runs at 65.00 and 206 runs at 55.00 respectively, and there’s little to separatethem from Somerset’s leading run scorers of Jim Allenby, with 221 runs at 44.20, and Johannes Myburgh with 207 runs at 41.40. With the ball things are also pretty closely matched, with James Franklin and James Fuller leading the way for Middlesex with eight and six wickets respectively, whilst Somerset’s leading bowlers are Lewis Gregory with eleven and Tim Groenewald with eight. With the sides so closely matched in terms of their leading performers, this is a hard one to call, although with Middlesex carrying all the momentum into the clash and with recent meetings between the sides all going in their favour, Middlesex will be the favourites to come away with the win.
Not for the first time, Middlesex’s squad selection is dictated to by international commitments elsewhere, and James Franklin heads to Taunton without Dawid Malan and Toby Roland-Jones, both absent with the England Lions, whilst Steven Finn is absent due to him having a minor elective procedure on his damaged big toe nail. This won’t overly concern the New Zealander however, as Middlesex’s unbeaten run has been achieved despite some notable absentees in recent weeks, and the momentum and confidence that his side will bring into this game will stand them in good stead in what is a crucial South Group clash.
Middlesex have named the following thirteen-man squad for the trip to Somerset:
James Franklin (captain)
The match is due to start at 11am tomorrow and you can follow it via the links on the home page of the website.