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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||30||1||7.50|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||1||2||0||0||50.00|
The Vitality Blast 2018 is picking up steam as some of the lesser teams have started to find their feet in the competition. The two teams competing in this match have had a rough start and are currently at the bottom of the South group. Middlesex will be hosting Hampshire and be hoping to improve on its result the last time they met, which was just six days ago. While Middlesex will be playing Hampshire for the second consecutive game, Hampshire managed to play an incredibly thrilling tie with Essex as well.
Both sides will want to win this match and begin their ascent up the table.
Middlesex’s victory against Surrey in their first match of the competition is beginning to look like a flash in the pan. They have since lost their next four matches even though they played a couple of teams in poor form.
Middlesex’s batting continues to falter this season and the team needs to find a fix quickly. The return of Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan to the side has not helped Middlesex much and in fact, their poor performances have made the side more unstable.
Morgan has 11 runs from two innings while Malan has 9 runs from three innings. For senior England cricketers batting in the top order, this is an unacceptable return.
This poor showing has corresponded in a loss of form for Paul Stirling, an average return by Holden, and some inadequate contributions from the lower order. The solution to Middlesex’s problem looks easy. Players of the caliber of Morgan and Malan are bound to come good sooner than later.
Hampshire’s bowling will have to be very vigilant to ensure that the two don’t regain form against them.
Ashton Agar and Dwayne Bravo may be technically considered all-rounders but it is clear that it is their bowling which wins them a place in the side. Bravo has performed adequately, picking up six wickets, but Agar has struggled.
Both the bowlers are giving away runs in excess of nine runs per over, however, that is not the main concern. It will be the lack of the two overseas bowlers to be able to get opposition top order batsmen out that will be troubling Middlesex.
Steven Finn played his first game of the Vitality Blast in the last match to give Middlesex’s bowling a boost. The team certainly has class players in its lineup but has yet to find a winning formula.
PR Stirling, Max Holden, Nick Gubbins, Eoin Morgan, John Simpson, Dwayne Bravo, Ashton Agar, James Fuller, Thomas Helm, Nathan Sowter, ST Finn.
An absolutely thrilling tie in the last match would have left Hampshire fans absolutely buzzing. It was Hampshire’s game to lose at one point and then it seemed like it was in the bag. Eventually, the tie would have left both teams equally unhappy, a sign of an excellent game.
Runs from Colin Munro at the top has started to make the Hampshire side a lot more dangerous than at the beginning of the tournament. If James Vince can find some form and Sam Northeast can continue to as effective as he is being then the Hampshire top order will be very dangerous.
Rilee Rossouw at number 4 is also a world-class performer and we can easily see Hampshire putting up massive totals or chasing them down.
A surprisingly effective batsman for Hampshire has been found in Liam Dawson. Coming down the order, Dawson can be counted upon to score valuable runs and give support to the other batsmen batting around him.
Hampshire tied its last match and won the one before that to finally be getting its Vitality Blast campaign on track. We think that Hampshire’s batsmen will know the challenge that lies ahead of them against a quality Middlesex bowling unit but they will be up for it.
Perhaps as encouraging as the coming together of the batting pieces for Hampshire has been, the improvement in Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s bowling is equally important. As a bowler who often bows in the powerplay or is used as strike weapon at the most crucial parts of the game, Mujeeb’s form could dictate the way Hampshire’s season goes.
His economy rate of just over 7 is exceptional and he is going to play a big role for Hampshire going forward. Fidel Edwards played the last game but looked a little rusty. It will be interesting to see if Hampshire plays him in this game.
With Dawson and Wood showing good form with the ball, the Hampshire side is looking like a well-rounded unit.
J Vince, Colin Munro, Sam Northeast, RR Rossouw, Lewis McManus, Tom Alsop, LA Dawson, CP Wood, RA Stevenson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, FH Edwards.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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A sunny day with some clouds around has been forecast for London. There is a about a 20% chance of rain but we expect the match to be undertaken without any interruptions. The pitch at Lord’s is excellent for batsmen. It has offered a little bit for the spinners and the pacers will be able to use the slope to make things happen as well.
A score of about 170 should be considered par.
Hampshire is shaping up nicely over the last few games and we think they will continue to get better.
Back Hampshire to win.
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