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|AB de Villiers||64||40||5||1||160.00|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||3.0||0||21||0||7.00|
With a few exciting and unexpected results in some of its matches, it has been an exciting week in Vitality T20 Blast - 2019. Taking inspirations from those upsets, Surrey will be looking to get across the lineup in their next encounter and consequently rise up the ladder. They are set to play Middlesex Panthers on Thursday, August 8th, at the Lord's Cricket Ground, London. The difference between the two sides at the points table is well and clearly visible with Middlesex sitting comfortably at the third position whereas Surrey is languishing at the second spot from the bottom of the table. While Middlesex Panthers appear to be favorites on the basis of past results in the tournament, things aren't going to be as easy. We have already seen some significant upsets happen in the tournament so far and it won't be surprising if Surrey manages to do that well. A cracker of a contest is undoubtedly on the cards.
Led by Eoin Morgan, Middlesex is undoubtedly one of the top contenders to qualify for the playoffs in the South Group of the tournament. They are currently sitting at the third spot on the points table with eight points to their name, thanks to their four spectacular wins in eight matches. Also, their dominance in the tournament can be seen by their high net run-rate of +0.754.
Middlesex are coming off a massive win over Somerset wherein their batsmen wreaked havoc on Somerset bowlers as the Panthers scored a mammoth total of 215 batting first. AB de Villiers looked at his vintage best as he smashed 88 off just 35 deliveries, coming in at number three after Paul Stirling was dismissed in the ninth over. He combined well with Dawid Malan for the second wicket, and after Malan was dismissed, he took the matter in his own hands as he single-handedly dismantled Somerset's bowling attack. Off the last 96 runs, Eoin Morgan and JA Simpson contributed just 32 runs in total.
After a terrific performance with the bat, their bowlers just needed to bowl in the right areas to get the job done, and, they obliged. Even though most of their bowlers were smashed around the park, which was expected with Somerset chasing such a big score, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Stephen Finn, Toby Roland Jones, and NA Sowter all contributed by picking up wickets at regular intervals. Middlesex Panthers eventually dismissed Somerset entirely for a total of 180 runs as they won the match by 35 runs.
Even though it seems that the Panthers are a little over-reliant on their batsmen with the likes of Dawid Malan, AB de Villiers, and Eoin Morgan around, their bowlers have contributed well in the tournament. They are going along pretty nicely at the moment, and unless they get complacent about their form and do something silly, it's expected to be business as usual for them.
PR Stirling, Dawid Malan, Stephen Eskinazi, AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan, John Simpson, Toby Roland-Jones, Thomas Helm, Nathan Sowter, ST Finn, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Surrey continued to go down the spiral with their poor performance in the tournament repeating in their last match as well. Just as Middlesex Panthers did, Surrey, too, played their last match against Somerset but faced a contrasting result. They are currently at the eighth spot in the South Group points table with just three points to their name and need something magical to qualify for the playoffs from here.
Their batting performance against Somerset in their last match had stark similarities with how Middlesex Panthers did against the same side. Batting first on an absolutely flat deck, Aaron Finch and Sam Curran got them off to a flying start after Will Jacks was dismissed for a personal score of nine in only the second over of the match. With excellent little cameos from Ollie Pope and Tom Curran towards the end of their innings, Surrey got across the 200-run mark which should have been enough on most days.
The total of 203 was always going to be difficult to chase down, but Somerset's opening pair had different ideas. Also, they were helped by some clueless and indisciplined bowling by the Curran bowlers who set the tone for the Somerset's innings. By the time Gareth Batty and Imran Tahir dismissed Tom Banton and Babar Azam respectively, it was a little too late for Surrey to even claw back in the match.
All in all, Surrey's batting has done reasonably well in the series so far, and the same was the case in their previous fixture as well. The Curran brothers have primarily been ineffective at the top, making the task for their spinners a tad too difficult. With Aaron Finch in top-form, they'll certainly be a dangerous unit, and if their bowlers can step up and contribute better in the upcoming fixture, Surrey could prove to be a tough team to get past.
Aaron Finch, Will Jacks, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Jordan Clark, Tom Curran, Rikki Clarke, Jade Dernbach, Gareth Batty, Imran Tahir.
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Despite having so strong side on paper, Surrey have actually surprised one and all by the kind of show they've exhibited in the tournament so far. Before the tournament started, they were one of the favorites to qualify for the playoffs in the South Group, but here they are struggling to survive as they face Panthers in a must-win match. Middlesex Panthers, on the other hand, have been in superb form and with their batting as well as bowling doing pretty well at the moment, they are better placed to emerge on top in this highly-anticipated contest.
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