About the Match
Every match in the super compressed South Group is going to be important and that is the case when Essex takes on Middlesex. Essex is dead last on the table right now but a couple of wins could change their fortunes dramatically. Both the teams are coming into this on the back of a close victory and would want to carry that momentum through the next few games.
Essex may be bottom of the South Group table right now but they beat Hampshire in their last game, one of the strongest teams this season. Any team can beat any other one and that is what has made the NatWest T20 Blast 2017 so exciting.
There are some things that have started to finally come together for Essex that we believe could still help them make a move up the table. Mohammad Amir had 8 wickets in the competition and 7 of them have come in the last two matches.
His bowling rhythm is excellent and he is resembling the bowler that helped Pakistan win the Champions Trophy against all odds this year.
Chopra and Lawrence are scoring runs at the top of the order and Essex has been winning without needing to rely on Bopara all the time. Of course, keeping a class player like Bopara quiet is not going to be easy either and so Essex is looking like a formidable batting line-up.
We would like to see both Bopara and Ten Doeschate take a little more responsibility and come in slightly earlier but batting them later down the order seems to be a team decision.
Bopara, Walter, and Zaidi are all handy bowlers who can support an in-form Amir admirably. Essex is not going to go down easy in this tournament.
It was encouraging to see Middlesex show a bit of fight and beat Sussex in their last match since that sort of grit has been missing from their cricket this year. The loss of Brendon McCullum to the Caribbean Premier League is obviously massive but the fact that he did not have the best season this time around means that Middlesex does not have to adjust too much.
Eskinazi has had a fantastic first couple of matches in the tournament adding to the batting strength of Middlesex. Paul Stirling is also most comfortable at the top of the order while Morgan, Franklin, Scott, and Higgins are all very capable batsmen.
Middlesex is still waiting for a sustained run of form from Eoin Morgan, something that can help them make a push for the final four position.
TG Helm has taken the mantle of lead bowler for the side with ease and has 14 wickets to his name. With Tim Southee, Steven Finn and Nathan Sowter also having good tournaments, Middlesex has a very decent bowling lineup to call upon.
This is a team with some excellent players who have not quite combined to perform together up until now but that could change quickly.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at Chelmsford is expected to be a little on the slower side but the small boundaries should allow for big scored none the less. A clear and sunny day should help in providing excellent conditions for the batsmen as well.
Essex to wi