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Middlesex's struggle continued to extend against Gloucestershire as they faced a brutal 70-run defeat from them. They are now at the bottom of the group with just two wins in 11 games and a poor net run rate of -1.219. They face Kent in their next game at Beckenham on 12th August where they'll be looking to get a win and avoid the wooden spoon. Kent, too, will be after a win desperately as a win here will strengthen their chances to qualify for the next round.
The Spitfires had to share points with Sussex in their last game as the rain didn't allow even a single ball to be bowled. They had a disappointing outing prior to that, against Gloucestershire, as they lost that match by eight wickets.
Despite a brilliant knock of 99* by Joe Denly, Kent could only finish on 160. Kent had a terrific start to the match as their openers reached 50 without loss in the powerplay, but with the wicket of Daniel Bell-Drummond, things started to go downhill for them. They were 84 for 1 at the halfway stage but could manage only 76 in the second half. Heino Kuhn, Marcus Stoinis, and Sam Billings all failed to time the ball on the wicket where Joe Denly appeared to be in no problem at all.
Despite an under-par score at the board, their bowlers ensured no easy runs for Gloucestershire. The visitors had to work hard for their runs, but some intelligent batting by Michael Klinger, Miles Hammond, and Ian Cockbain eventually saw them home with four deliveries and eight wickets in hand.
Joe Denly, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Heino Kuhn, Sam Billings, Zak Crawley, Alex Blake, Sean Dickson, Calum Haggett, Adam Milne, Mitchell Claydon, Imran Qayyum.
Twice in three matches, Middlesex conceded more than 200 runs - first against Surrey and then against Gloucestershire to extend their loss tally to nine. Except for the start where they picked Miles Hammond for a personal score of 5, nothing went Middlesex's way.
They were well within the business with Gloucestershire at 99 for 1 in 11 overs, but poor bowling by Middlesex bowlers which involved a lot of short and wide deliveries allowed Gloucs' batsmen to hit boundaries at will. James Franklin and James Fuller were taken away for 53 and 58 runs respectively off their four overs. Barber was even more expensive as he conceded 62 from his four.
Middlesex did get off to a flying start scoring at more than 10 runs an over in the powerplay, but that too was not enough, considering the total they were chasing. Eoin Morgan and Eskinazi did well to keep them in the hunt, albeit only mathematically, but their departure in the 16th over shattered all the hopes their fans had. With just two wins in 11 matches, Middlesex no longer have the chance to qualify for the next round. However, they'll be striving hard to not to finish with the wooden-spoon and makes things difficult for whichever opponent they face in their upcoming matches.
PR Stirling, Dawid Malan, Stephen Eskinazi, Eoin Morgan, James Franklin, George Scott, John Simpson, James Fuller, James Harris, Ravi Patel, Tom Barber.
Both the teams have had contrasting seasons this year. While Kent have consistently stayed in the top half of the points table, Middlesex haven't left the bottom-half for the most part. The upcoming game is a dead-rubber for Middlesex as far as qualification for the next round is concerned, they'll be playing to redeem themselves with a win and rise up the ladder. Kent, on the other hand, have all to play for with a possible quarter-final spot at stake and they'll come out all guns blazing. Considering the recent form, Kent Spitfires go in as firm favorites to win the upcoming encounter at Beckenham.
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