About the Match
With England playing South Africa in the Test series, the T20 carnival in England begins with Gloucestershire taking on Middlesex in the opening game of the competition at County Ground, Chelmsford. The match will begin at 2:30 pm local time on 7th July 2017. Middlesex has strengthened their batting lineup and will look to set its record straight. As of now, Gloucestershire has never lost to Middlesex in a domestic T20 competition. With history favoring the home side and the betting odds suggesting Middlesex as favorites, a thrilling contest is certainly on the cards.
Gloucestershire had to make an early exit last year despite a strong show in the group stage. In the quarter-finals against Durham, unlike what everyone expected, they underperformed and were therefore knocked out of the competition. They have an excellent mix of skill and experience with Michael Klinger as their senior most batsman.
Andrew Tye was brilliant for Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League even on batting friendly surfaces and his absence will certainly be felt. It was their bowlers who took them to the second spot in the league stage and it would be interesting to see how they go about their business on batting friendly decks. Ian Cockbain had a prolific season last year as he flourished with an average of over 55.
There aren't many big names on this side and therefore they surprised one and all when they finished at 2nd spot in their group in the last season. The youngsters now have the belief and will be looking to replicate their last year's performance. The onus will be on the experienced trio of Ian Cockbain, Michael Klinger, and Phil Mustard to marshall the troops and guide them home.
Just like their opponents for this game, they too reached the quarterfinal stage. They've added the experienced Daniel Vettori to their coaching personnel and his experience could be vital for bowlers, who otherwise prefer bowling in the longer version of the game.
The addition of Brendon McCullum to their lineup means that runs would come at a rapid rate once he is in the middle. The innings of Dawid Malan in third debut match would have ignited a lot of confidence in his as well as his teammates' mind.
Players like Eoin Morgan, Tim Southee, and James Franklin are an integral part of the team and their performance will be the key to how this team progresses in this competition. They haven't won a single game out of nine against Gloucestershire and this will be one of the points to ponder over in the team meeting. Should their players continue to play as per their potential, there's no reason this record can not change.
Traditionally, it has been Gloucestershire all over Middlesex. Out of nine T20 games, Middlesex has failed to score success in even one on them and this fact will be playing on their mind. Gloucestershire has lost their key bowlers in Andrew Tye, whose performance was instrumental in their last years' campaign. Looking at the team on paper, Middlesex is favorites to win this upcoming fixture.