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After a lot of doubts over whether the T20 Blast was actually going to take place, we are now at the cusp of the start. Starting us off are the defending champions, Essex Eagles, as they take on Middlesex.
There are a lot of changes to the teams this year, the foreign players are not likely to be available, and the format of the Vitality T20 Blast itself has been tweaked.
Can Essex defend its title and do something that no team in the history of the T20 Blast has done? Will Middlesex be able to recover from the loss of its big batting guns? Let's find out.
Essex vs Middlesex Vitality T20 Blast 2020 is going to be played at the County Ground, Chelmsford on the 27th of August 2020.
Essex has been in very good form in Bob Willis Trophy and will be hoping to carry that into the T20 Blast as well. Leading the way is Simon Harmer, the captain of the side and the best bowler of the side. Harmer picked up 17 wickets in the 2019 edition of the Blast but will be hoping to play a bigger role this season.
He will have the support of Sam Cook, Jamie Porter, and Aaron Beard as seam bowlers of the side.
With a couple of all-rounders in the team as well, the Essex Eagles have a decent bowling lineup.
Their batting, however, their strong suit. A possible starting lineup comprising of Tom Westley, Cameron Delport, Dan Lawrence, and Ryan Ten Doeschate is a serious lineup. Ravi Bopara is not going to be with the Essex Eagles after 18 years of service and that is something that will be missed.
His role as a finisher is tough to replace and maybe Adam Wheater or Paul Walter may be expected to step up.
The Essex Eagles do not appear to be the strongest T20 side but they were not the last season either. With Simon Harmer in riveting form, they cannot be taken lightly.
C Delport, Varun Chopra, Tom Westley, Daniel Lawrence, RN ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater, Paul Walter, SR Harmer, Shane Snater, Aaron Beard, Matthew Quinn.
Middlesex has been hit hard by the change in the schedule of the T20 Blast. They are going to be without three of their best batsmen in this edition of the tournament and that is going to be tough to come back from. Eoin Morgan, AB de Villiers, and Dawid Malan are three batsmen that are not going to be available.
In their absence, players like Nick Gubbins, Max Holden, and Steve Eskinazi will have to raise their game.
The batting looks a bit thin when compared to the Essex Eagles and could be put under pressure.
The bowling for Middlesex is very strong, though. They should have Toby Roland-Jones leading the attack with Nathan Sowter, and Tom Helm in there as well.
Nathan Sowther’s leg-spin has improved quite a bit while Tom Helm will do the tough job in the powerplay and at the end of the inning.
If Middlesex can get some runs on the board, this bowling attack is going to be able to make most batting order work very hard for their runs.
Max Holden, Stephen Eskinazi, Martin Andersson, Nick Gubbins, Dan Lincoln, John Simpson, Miguel Cummins, James Harris, Thomas Helm, Nathan Sowter, ST Finn.
The team that wins the toss is likely to want to field first. This is a high-scoring ground where defending scores can be very difficult.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
There is a little bit of rain forecast in Chelmsford on match ay but we should be able to get a full match. The pitch is usually very good for batting and we can expect some high-scores in this match. The bounce in the pitch is consistent and the ball will come on to the bat nicely.
Anything around 160-170 is the minimum that teams will be aiming for batting first.
Dream11 tips and Dream11 team for Essex vs Middlesex T20 Blast 2020
Find more Dream11 predictions and other tips and tricks on our dedicated Dream11 guide.
There are a lot of unknowns at the start of the tournament and this is why the form in the Bob Willis Trophy is something we must take seriously. That and the fact that Essex seems to have a stronger batting lineup gives it the edge in this contest.
Bet on Essex Eagles to win.
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