About the Match
Having the lost the first match of the season, Middlesex are yet to score any points and will face second place holders Kent, who have 4 points from two wins, on 28th May at Lord’s. Middlesex had lost to the Gloucs in the last match by 7 wickets and are looking ahead to open their points tally with a win against Kent, which has won both the opening matches against Sussex and Hampshire. The teams will come out all guns blazing on Thursday to boost their respective campaigns; while both sides have their own set of positives, the team that can perform under pressure will surely come out trumps here.
Compton and Stirling displayed a good nick with the bat as they posted a 75-run opening stand against Gloucestershire in the opening match; while Compton posted 78 off 53 which included nine fours, Stirling scored 39 off 24 to keep the scoreboard ticking. The middle order comprising of Voges, skipper Franklin and Burns could do just enough to get the total to 175 runs; however, the bowlers failed to defend the score against hard-hitting tactics of the Gloucs batsmen. Steven Finn was the leading wicket taker with 2-29 while Harris picked up a lone wicket; the others gave away too many runs and couldn’t get the tempo going in the wicket-taking department. The team consists of established batsmen like Voges, Compton and Stirling and are well-spported by bowlers like Finn, Patel, Dexter, Podmore and Harris. They will need to strategize well against Kent in the upcoming match and put up a tough challenge if they want to score the opening points this season.
They won both their opening matches, the first one by defending 185 runs and winning by a narrow margin of 7 runs against Sussex and the second victory came against Hampshire by 5 wickets, chasing a total of 173 runs successfully. Their victories have placed them securely at the second position in the south group of the ongoing NatWest challenge but they will need to keep the winning momentum going against teams like Middlesex, which has the resources to put up a good fight. Denly and Northeast have been doing the majority of the work at the top order while Bell-Drummond’s form is a cause for worry as he got out for just 1 run in both the matches; Northeast put up 60 off 49 against Hampshire and scored 40 off 29 against Sussex. Alex Blake coming in at no.7 exuded brilliance with the bat as he scored a quick 71 off just 30 balls against Hampshire to safely take the team to their second victory of the season. Billings and Cowdrey are also in good form but they will need to perform better in the upcoming matches. On the bowling front, Riley, Griffiths, Claydon and Coles have all contributed with regular wickets while Tredwell and Stevens too have been useful with their wicket-taking abilities. They have the talent and required firepower to overcome any situation and win the upcoming match on Thursday.
While Kent has got off to a superb start, Middlesex is yet to find its footing in the tournament; the contest will surely see a lot of fireworks from both teams but we feel that Kent has the upper hand to win the match and continue with their momentum here.