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|Mujib Ur Rahman||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||23||1||5.75|
Hampshire has had a horror start to its campaign by losing all three of its matches so far. The tournament is far from over but Hampshire needs to start winning matches now or else it risks falling too far behind to matter. As the only team in the South Group without a win to its name, the pressure is mounting. Hampshire’s opponent in this match will be Middlesex, another team that has had a tough start to its campaign. Middlesex has one win from three matches and a contest against Somerset before this one takes place.
This match could be important for both teams in getting their campaign back on track.
An absolutely brilliant inning by Liam Dawson almost led Hampshire to a win against Kent in the last match. Chasing a steep target of 211, Hampshire fell just three runs short in the end. Fans can look at the final scoreline and be impressed that Hampshire is moving in the right direction but a closer look still shows multiple problems.
The top order for Hampshire has not been firing and even in this match, the top-3 scored five runs collectively. For a team that has won the Royal London ODI Cup recently, this start to the Vitality Blast 2018 was unexpected.
James Vince, drafted into the England team and now back for the Vitality Blast, should be looking to make more of an impact. 30 of his 33 runs in total have come from just one match. Colin Munro was regarded as the most dangerous batsman in T20 cricket not too long ago but he too has struggled and scored only 41 runs from his three matches.
Sam Northeast is going through a similar rough patch and the reason behind Hampshire’s struggles quickly becomes apparent. These are all quality players, though, and we expect them to bounce back strongly.
Middlesex has been struggling this year and Hampshire’s batsmen may find this the perfect opportunity to get on the board in a big way.
Hampshire’s bowling has also been struggling so far. Mujeeb Ur Rahman has not had the impact that his team would have expected. He is economical but has not picked up too many wickets. Still, Dawson, Wood, Abbott, and Berg are a decent bowling unit. They will do better once the batsmen start holding up their end of the bargain as well.
J Vince, Colin Munro, Sam Northeast, RR Rossouw, Tom Alsop, LA Dawson, Lewis McManus, Gareth Berg, CP Wood, RA Stevenson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
An excellent start to the season with a win over Surrey has fallen apart for Middlesex somewhat. It has lost its last two matches and the upcoming 48 hours are going to be crucial for the team. Middlesex will first play a struggling Somerset and then take on the winless Hampshire.
Wins in both these matches will help it recover from the poor start but losses in both of these matches could really spell disaster. Things are not too good for Middlesex right now. Its batting has failed to impress and has just one fifty across the entire team.
Paul Stirling, who led the team to victory against Surrey, has added just seven runs to his tally in the next two matches. Players like Cartwright, Eskinazi, and Simpson have all got starts without being able to convert them into big scores.
The Hampshire bowling has not been having a good time but it contains some very good performers. We are not sure how much Middlesex’s batsmen have seen of Mujeeb Ur Rahman but how they face up to him will be an important phase of the game.
Dawid Malan should be available for this match, providing a boost to Middlesex, and Nick Gubbins should be in a good frame of mind having scored some runs against the Indian A side as well. Maybe Middlesex needs to do something a little different to shake things up like play Dwayne Bravo as the pinch hitter because they are drifting towards the bottom of the pack leaving things as they are.
Bravo, Fuller, Helm, Sowter, and Patel are the bowling unit for Middlesex with some support from bowlers like Stirling, Malan, and Cartwright.
This bowling attack is pretty average and could come under pressure from Hampshire’s batsmen.
Max Holden, PR Stirling, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, John Simpson, Dwayne Bravo, Ashton Agar, James Fuller, Thomas Helm, ST Finn, Nathan Sowter.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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Some rain has been forecast for match day in Southampton and we could have some interruptions. The patter of predicted rain indicates that we should be able to get a full match in if a little bit of luck goes our way. The Rose Bowl is an excellent ground for batting. The pitch will be flat and full of runs for the batsmen on both sides.
A score of around 180 should be considered par.
We think Hampshire has the players that it needs to turn things around and are backing it to registers its first win of the season.
Back Hampshire to win.