Middlesex v Essex Eagles
Thursday 03 September
The Eagles travel to Lord’s on Thursday looking for the victory against Middlesex that will kick-start their Vitality Blast campaign. The match is scheduled to start at 6:15pm.
So far, the 2019 Champions are without a win in three attempts and face opponents who are also without a win to their name. Both teams have an identical record of one defeat, one tied match and one ‘no result’ from their trio of matches.
The Eagles defeat came at The Cloudfm County Ground on Tuesday where Hampshire took the points when they successfully chased down the Essex total of 139 for 6 having five wickets and one ball to spare.
Ryan ten Doeschate and Cameron Delport top-scored for the home side with 37 not out and 36 respectively while Aron Nijjar proved the pick of the Essex attack with 2 for 25 from his 4 overs.
It was the first time in 13 months that the Eagles had experienced defeat in any form of the game but Nijjar remained philosophical.
“We are not happy with the loss but we aren’t going to dwell on it too much as we have three important games coming up so we will be ready to bounce back quickly,” he said.
“We weren’t too disheartened with our score as it wasn’t easy to score on – it was a bit stoppy and kept low – so we were happy that we could have defended that score and were unhappy we didn’t.
“It seemed difficult to get in on. There weren’t many sixes for example. You needed to push the ones and twos.
“I didn’t bowl too badly, although I would have liked a few less runs and maybe another wicket or two to see the boys home. It is nice to contribute but hopefully we can get a few more wins.
“We went 13 months without losing so that shows that we have a good mentality even when we lose. We do put the blame on ourselves but don’t dwell on it and get back up and make sure we get the wins.
“The record was something we were aware of but I don’t think any team in any sport can win every single game.
“Not every day can be your day.”
The Eagles have no injury worries ahead of Thursday’s match. Tom Westley, who was forced to leave the field with a cut to his finger when taking a catch that dismissed Tom Alsop, has been declared fit and will take his place in an unchanged squad.
Middlesex reached the quarter-finals last year but are without Paul Stirling, Dawid Malan, AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan and Mujeeb ur Rahman this season. Steven Finn has taken over the captaincy in the absence of Eoin Morgan who is away on England duty and Head Coach and former Essex crowd favourite, Stuart Law, has named a 15-man squad for the fixture.
Steven Finn (c), Martin Andersson, Joe Cracknell, Blake Cullen, Miguel Cummins, Jack Davies, Stephen Eskinazi, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Tom Helm, Max Holden, Luke Hollman, Dan Lincoln, John Simpson (wk), Nathan Sowter.
Record Between The Sides
The teams have already met this season but the contest at Chelmsford was ended by heavy rain shortly after the Eagles had begun their reply to a Middlesex score of 184 for 5 with opener Max Holden carrying his bat for 102, his maiden century in T20 cricket.
Since the competition began in 2003, the teams have clashed on 29 occasions with the Eagles triumphant in 15 matches and Middlesex 13, including last season at the home of cricket where AB de Villers treated a packed house to a T20 masterclass. The South African international struck an imperious and chanceless 88 not out from 43 balls to ease his side to a 7-wicket success.
Although he is unavailable this year, Middlesex has a number of batsmen who pose a threat to the Eagles attack. Apart from the Holden century mentioned above, Steve Eskinazi has a couple of fifties to his name and Nick Gubbins has also passed a half-century in contrast to the Essex batters for whom ten Doeschate has posted the highest contribution so far with 37 not out.