Middlesex have named a squad of fourteen for the visit of Somerset tomorrow in the final group match of the Royal London One-Day Cup South Group.
Whilst Somerset have themselves already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition, Middlesex have sadly suffered from inconsistency throughout what has been a stop start campaign, in which they've won only two games and now find themselves ruled out of contention for qualification.
Somerset come to Lord’s lying in second place in the table, having lost their last encounter against Essex in a table topping clash that saw the Eagles claim pole position in the group by virtue of a 72-run victory down in Taunton.
Likewise, Middlesex also came unstuck against Essex in their last fifty over clash, when at Chelmsford the hosts bowled Middlesex out for just 148, before knocking off the runs inside thirty overs to condemn Middlesex to an early exit from the competition.
James Franklin will have to rally his troops for this last Royal London One-Day Cup clash in front of the home crowd, to ensure that Middlesex can restore some pride from what has been a disappointing and frustrating competition for all concerned. Whilst Middlesex have at times played some outstanding cricket, they’ve also far too frequently performed way below the standards they’re capable of, and it’s this lack of consistency that has cost them dearly this season.
Somerset will be hoping that they can return to winning ways tomorrow to give themselves any chance of winning the South Group, which if they can return to winning ways, will see their hopes of finishing on top of the group come down to a net run rate calculation with Essex at the top if Essex fail to beat Kent at Chelmsford. If however Essex beat the Spitfires tomorrow, then a Somerset win will still see them qualify for a home play-off tie in the first stage of the knockouts, giving them an advantage on route to the semi-finals.
Middlesex are still missing Paul Stirling and Tim Murtagh, both on international duty with Ireland, whilst Sam Robson is still sidelined with the hamstring injury he picked up against Hampshire earlier in the competition. Seamer Harry Podmore comes into the fourteen-man squad.
With the pressure off tomorrow, in a dead rubber for Middlesex, Franklin will be hoping his side can reach the heights they've previously shown against both Sussex and Hampshire earlier in the competition, when they've shown just how good a fifty over side they can be.
Middlesex fourteen-man squad as follows:
James Franklin (captain)
John Simpson (wicket-keeper)