Match Previews: Middlesex v Essex Eagles | Essex Eagles v Surrey

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Middlesex v Essex Eagles | Essex Eagles v Surrey

Vitality Blast
Lord’s, London | The Cloud County Ground
Thursday 23 June, 6:15pm | Friday 24 June, 7pm

 
With four games remaining in the Vitality Blast group stages, the Eagles are well-placed in third position in the South Group but will need a strong finish to be assured of a spot in the Quarter-Finals.

This week sees two pivotal fixtures as first the Eagles travel to Lord’s to face Middlesex on Thursday followed by a visit from table-toppers Surrey the following day.

Squad:

Dan Lawrence is back in the squad after time out through injury, however Matt Critchley has suffered a knee injury and is being assessed but will not feature in the squad to face either Middlesex or Surrey. Luc Benkenstein features in an Eagles T20 squad for the first time.

MIDD SURR SQUAD

 

The Opposition: Middlesex

The Eagles will be looking to do the double over Middlesex after a comprehensive win at Chelmsford earlier this season.

Middlesex’s season got off to an incredible start as they won their opening three games against Gloucestershire, Hamphire and Glamorgan. However, since their fixture against Sussex at the start of the month, they have tailed off with just one win in their last seven games. That run of poor form has left them sat in 7th place in the South Group.

Since the injury of Toby Roland-Jones, who took 10 wickets in his opening 6 games, all-rounder Martin Andersson has stepped up with the ball. His 17 wickets have come at an average of 20.47 and makes him one of the leading wicket-takers in the competition.

Middlesex’s batting has been a cause for concern, with no batter averaging more than the 29 of Club Captain Stephen Eskinazi.

Head to Head:

MIDD H2H

Last time out: Middlesex

When the Eagles faced Middlesex at Chelmsford earlier this season, their opposition’s strong start was threatening to stall after three successive defeats. Their luck didn’t change as an Eagles side soaring at home completed a 61-run victory.

After losing the toss and being inserted, Essex romped along to an above-par score of 186-6 thanks to half-centuries for Feroze Khushi and Paul Walter.

Feroze Khushi was the standout batter, scoring 67 from 40 balls at the top of the order in his first T20 appearance at The Cloud County Ground in 2022. Paul Walter was also able to reach his half-century as he continued his great form with the bat, finishing on 58 off just 35 balls.

Middlesex’s response took a hammer blow with captain Stephen Eskinazi being bowled in the first over by Sam Cook. Wickets kept falling for Middlesex as batter made starts but didn’t push.

Matt Critchley and Sam Cook kept up their great form with the ball, both taking three wickets a piece as Middlesex were bowled out for 125.

Essex will travel to Lord’s with memories of their last T20 at the ground. A nail-biting fixture came down to the final ball, Simon Harmer again the man of the moment as he found the third man boundary to secure a breathtaking victory that conjured memories of the 2019 Final.

The Opposition: Surrey

Surrey have had an excellent 2022, going unbeaten in both red and white ball cricket. Their dominant start to the campaign is reflected in their position in the table, sitting top with 9 wins and a no result from their 10 games.

Their unbeaten start came the closest to being broken last time out against Somerset. Needing 4 runs to win from the final ball, McKerr found the cover boundary to hand Surrey a spot in the Quarter-Finals.

Will Jacks has been in sparkling form with the bat, scoring 320 runs at the top of the order and reaching 50 four times. He has been well supported by the likes of Jason Roy, Ollie Pope and Kieron Pollard, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Surrey’s bowling attack is much envied and has proved an effective weapon so far this season. Chris Jordan, taking the captains armband in his first season back at his old club, has picked up 14 wickets with an impressive economy of 7.37. However, overseas spinner Sunil Narine has proved even more economical, going at just 5.50 runs per over.

Head to Head:

SURR H2H

Last time out: Surrey

Everything clicked for the Eagles when they travelled to the Kia Oval to face Surrey last season, eventually running out victors by 8 wickets.

Simon Harmer won the toss and elected to field, a choice that instantly reaped rewards as Aron Nijjar took the wicket of Hashim Amla off the first ball of the game.

That set the tone for the rest of the Surrey innings as they could only muster a well below-par 118 all out.

Sam Cook was the pick of the Essex bowlers, taking career-best figures of 4/15. He was well supported by the Eagles spin trio of Harmer, Nijjar and Lawrence, the latter picking up 2/15 in his 3 overs.

The Eagles’ batters were able to ease their way into the winnings, with Adam Wheater being the more aggressive opener scoring 30 off 19 balls alongside Will Buttleman who reached a run-a-ball half century. Michael Pepper (15*) joined Buttleman (56*) to see Essex over the line in the sixteenth over for a convincing 8 wicket victory.

How to Watch:

Thursday evening’s game against Middlesex will be live-streamed courtesy of a feed provided by our hosts and will be available via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

On Friday, the Eagles return home and a live stream will be available through the Essex Cricket TV YouTube channel or via the Essex Cricket Matchzone, here.

Soar with the Eagles:

Tickets for the Eagles Friday night fixture against Surrey have sold out.

There is still limited availability for the Essex’s final game of the group stages against Glamorgan on Saturday 02 July. The game will get underway at 6:30pm and could well be decider for Quarter-Final places.

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