Middlesex will host the London Cup for the first time at Radlett Cricket Club on Thursday. Middlesex remain undefeated after two wins over arch-rivals Surrey in 2015 and 2016. The county has a new T20 skipper in Natasha Miles and this will be her first outing at the helm.
Speaking about her appointment as T20 captain Miles said, ‘Being named Captain of any squad is an incredible honour. Ever since joining Middlesex the Captaincy has been a goal and passion of mine so I am hugely looking forward to representing the club in this capacity on Thursday.’
Though Middlesex have had a tough start to the season, losing their first two Championship matches, there have been strong individual performances and Miles believes the squad is ready to tackle the London Cup before returning to the 50 over format on Sunday. ‘Despite a tough start to the season, the feeling in the squad is definitely positive. We have an extremely talented squad that will adapt well to the shorter and explosive format. I believe the change to T20 will give us a boost and encourage us to play with freedom and positivity that we can take with us through the rest of the season.’
Miles is also said how excited the team is to play on home turf at Radlett, ‘As incredible as it has been to play at The Oval in previous years, it will be a privilege to play in front of a home crowd at a top quality local club that is always supportive of the county.’
With the ball, New Zealand quick Holly Huddleston and young seamer Gayatri Gole are likely to play key roles in Middlesex’s title defence if they can claim early wickets. Gole enters the match off the back of her best figures of 9-2-49-3 for Middlesex First XI, while Huddleston claimed four wickets in the first two Championship matches.
Miles will be hoping to carry her strong one-day form into the first T20 of the season. In the opening County Championship match against Lancashire Miles made a crisp 44, an innings which contained seven fours and followed her composed knock of 20 in a pre-season friendly.
Beth Morgan is a second batsman who has shown her class this season. Against Yorkshire Morgan made an impressive 80, finding the boundary on nine occasions, to hold the innings together.
New loan signing Amara Carr will be looking to make an impact in her first outing for the county with bat in hand and the gloves behind the stumps. On Carr’s signing Miles said, ‘Amara brings with her a wealth of experience and will really bolster our batting line up. She is a talented cricketer with the bat and behind the stumps which will prove invaluable to our campaign. Her attitude and knowledge will be a real asset to Middlesex and I look forward to working with her in the squad and pushing for the T20 title.’
Surrey will be hoping they can win the London Cup for the first time and will look to opening bat Kirstie White to get early runs on the board. White made an unbeaten 85 in the county’s opening fixture of the season and could be crucial to the Surrey’s success. In the bowling department Middlesex will need to negotiate opener Amy Jenkins who has claimed three wickets at 17.67 this season and economical spinner and Surrey captain Cecily Scutt.
With England players and several Senior Academy representatives unavailable, the teams look set to be evenly matched.
Gates open at 4pm with The London Cup starting at 5:30pm.
Natasha Miles (c)
Preview contributed by Middlesex Women's Content Co-ordinator Georgia Isaac (Twitter - @Georgia_cricket)