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|RN ten Doeschate||18||12||2||0||150.00|
Paul Stirling's belligerent knock of 66 off just 36 deliveries stormed Middlesex home after being a set a target of 159 by Suxxex. They now move to Chelmsford where they'll face Essex on Friday. Essex lost their first match against the Sharks by a considerable margin of 36 runs. While the Panthers will be looking to build on the momentum, Essex have a tough task of bouncing back from a loss to get their first win of the tournament.
Despite Varun Chopra's valiant effort of 64 runs off 48 deliveries, chasing 182 proved to be too much of a task for Essex Eagles. Essex always looked to be a couple of overs behind during the chase after losing 4 wickets with more than 100 runs to get. Chopra's knock got them close and they had an outside chance with 52 to get off last 21 deliveries, but a late order collapse buried the chase then and there.
Losing the toss didn't prove too costly as the Eagles had the Sharks on the mat with three wickets down for 32 after 5.4 overs. Jamie Porter and Samuel Cook were impressive up front and they picked up three wickets between them. However, some inaccurate bowling by Coles and Ravi Bopara allowed the Sharks to take off and get to a total of 181. Matt Coles and Ravi Bopara gave away 80 runs in their seven overs and picked up just one wicket.
Essex showcased a wide array of vulnerabilities in their first match. With Bopara in all probability their fifth bowler, they lack the options if one of their strike bowlers fares poorly. In addition to that, their power-hitting batsmen failed miserably. If they can rectify these things in their upcoming fixture, Middlesex will have their task cut out.
Adam Wheater, Varun Chopra, Tom Westley, RN ten Doeschate, Dan Lawrence, RS Bopara, SR Harmer, Matt Coles, Adam Zampa, Samuel Cook, Jamie Porter.
Middlesex signed Dwayne Bravo in this season to strengthen their death bowling and he was successful in containing the runs right away. He gave away just 25 runs in his 4 overs with two of those bowled during the slog overs. As was seen in Middlesex's first match against Surrey, Paul Stirling is in excellent form. He's made three hundred in eight outing in Royal London One Day Cup.
In the absence of English skipper, Eoin Morgan, their middle-order appears to be little bleak with most of the firepower concentrated towards the top of the order. With Dawid Malan and Paul Stirling opening the innings, they have one of the most explosive opening pairs in the competition. However, they do not have much experience to follow.
Barring Dwayne Bravo and Ashton Agar, who too is set to miss the upcoming match, Middlesex lack bowlers who can pick up wickets in the middle overs. Dwayne Bravo will be used mostly during the death overs which leaves a void in the middle overs where things can go wrong. Regardlessly, they have plenty of options in the bowling department as seen in their recent-most outing where Paul Stirling picked up three wickets.
Middlesex finished at seventh spot in the last season and an excellent win in their first match should have boosted their confidence. They have genuine problems of a little brittle middle-order and lack of quality death bowling options other than Dwayne Bravo which need to be addressed as soon as possible.
PR Stirling, Nick Gubbins, Stephen Eskinazi, Dwayne Bravo, Hilton Cartwright, John Simpson, James Fuller, Max Holden, Thomas Helm, Nathan Sowter, Ravi Patel.
Pitch isn't really expected to change during the course of the match and therefore expect the team winning the toss to bowl first.
Chelmsford offers an excellent batting surface which was validated by the Sharks scoring 181 in the previous match. The pitch isn't expected to be much different and 180 will once again be a par score here.
One team suffered a humiliating defeat whereas the other posted a brilliant victory. Although they won their last match, Middlesex's middle-order vulnerabilities were exposed by Surrey. Essex, on the other hand, had a bad day and have the services of experienced players to bounce back. Furthermore, they are playing their next match at home. Because of those reasons, we believe that Essex are better placed to win this important match.