Middlesex head into another home NatWest T20 Blast encounter at Lord’s on Thursday night against Somerset with their sights firmly set on securing a victory that will get their 2016 campaign back on track, following the disappointment of an under par performance against London rivals Surrey at the Kia Oval last Friday. With the group stages not even yet half way through, Middlesex still have more than enough time to turn things around and make a success of this year’s T20 challenge, and Head Coach Richard Scott was keen to point out, that whilst he was frustrated and disappointed with Middlesex’s performance at the Oval, this was an uncharacteristic blip and was the first time that Middlesex have failed to compete on the field.
The Middlesex squad will come into the Somerset game on the back of a week’s rest, having not played since their loss at the Kia Oval, and Scott was upbeat that his side would be fresher for the break, would have had time to reflect on their shortcomings, and would be keen to put things straight at Lord’s against what he expects to be a tough Somerset unit.
Brendon McCullum’s stay with the club comes to an end this week, and Thursday’s Somerset clash will be the last time that Middlesex fans will be able to see the legendary Kiwi at Lord’s this term in the T20 Blast group stages, with his final Middlesex appearance coming the following night, away at Kent in Canterbury. Should Middlesex progress into the knockout stages of the competition then McCullum will return however for the latter stages!
McCullum has made a far bigger impression with Middlesex in the Royal London One-Day Cup this term, hitting a half century on his 50-over debut, 44 in his next innings and then a fine century in the next game, hitting over 200 runs at an average of 76 with a strike rate of 128. He will be keen to add to those achievements on Thursday in the shorter format of the game and sign off his stay with the Seaxes with a big T20 knock at Lord’s in front of a crowd expected to surpass 20,000.
After prolonged rain and a lightning storm killed off any chance of play at last week’s floodlit Thursday match at Lord’s against Sussex, Middlesex and all at Lord’s will be desperately hoping that the weather makes a significant improvement this week and that the big crowd gets entertained with what promises to be a cracking game.
Middlesex will be forced into making changes to their side due to the international call-up of England Captain Eoin Morgan, whilst influential left-arm paceman Mitchell McClenaghan also misses out due to a hip injury. Steven Finn however, having been made available by England, is free to play for his county side. Somerset will come to Lord’s without Chris Gayle, who’s stay with the Taunton based side will have come to an end, although in-form Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene is set to feature for the visitors.
With Dawid Malan’s men currently sat in sixth place in the South Group with two games in hand on Somerset, a victory against them at Lord’s on Thursday will put Middlesex right back in the mix and set up another important fixture on Friday night at Canterbury against a Kent side who sit below Middlesex in the table having played a game more.
Middlesex are pleased to announce the following 14-man squad to play in the NatWest T20 Blast match against Somerset at Lord's tomorrow, Thursday 23 June:
Dawid Malan (captain), Stephen Eskinazi, Steven Finn, James Franklin, James Fuller, Nick Gubbins, Ryan Higgins, Brendon McCullum, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson, Nathan Sowter, Paul Stirling.
Gates open at 4.45pm and the match is due to start at 6.15pm.
Tickets are available to buy on the gate and will cost £25 for adults & £5 for under 16s.
For more information on tickets for this match please CLICK HERE.