MATCH PREVIEW | Essex Eagles v Middlesex


Essex Eagles meet Middlesex in the NatWest T20 Blast at The Cloudfm County Ground on Friday night.

Although the Eagles start the match at the foot of the South Group with four matches to play, they still hold a realistic chance of reaching the quarter final stage.

In the previous match in the competition, Essex beat Hampshire by 4 wickets at the Ageas Bowl after opener and former Hampshire batsman Adam Wheater scored 50 to pave the way for only the third success for the Eagles in this year’s shortest form of the game.

Recently promoted to open the innings in T20 cricket, the 27 year-old played with gusto to lay the foundations for the win.

“With what we have in the middle order it would be criminal for me to go out there and not try and give it a whack because it could be wasted,” he explained. “Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t but to go on from the little starts to a bigger start was pleasing.”

He admitted it was a vital win. “It was a good win and a needed win because potentially, if we hadn’t won this, we could have been out if it,” he acknowledged

“It is a tight group, we are still bottom but we are not far off third. If games go our way we will see where we are.”

Middlesex, who sit just one place above the Eagles in the South Group, have a similar record to their hosts with 3 wins and 8 points from 10 matches and they are without a victory in six attempts away from home ahead of this encounter.

Essex will be seeking back-to-back T20 wins on home turf for the first time in over a year.

Head Coach Chris Silverwood has named a 13-man squad and has stressed the importance of the match. “It’s a must win game for us” he said. “But so are the other three matches we have left if we are going to have any chance of qualification for the knockout stage.

“We have had some excellent individual performances and some of the younger players are showing how much they are benefiting from playing this format of cricket. We had a good win against Hampshire in our last game and that showed we are capable of producing some good T20 cricket.

“As ever, we will go out and try and produce our best cricket which we have done at times in this competition and see where it takes us.”

Essex squad:
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
James Foster (7) WK
Mohammad Amir (5)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Varun Chopra (6)
Matt Dixon (30)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Callum Taylor (67)
Paul Walter (22)
Adam Wheater (31)
Ashar Zaidi (99)