Middlesex and Surrey will be ready to take to the field at the Oval on Wednesday 22nd July at 6pm as they contest the London Cup for the fifth time. The hosts will be aiming to win the trophy for the first time in its history.
Middlesex are likely to go into the match as favourites with new captain Naomi Dattani, vice-captain Cordelia Griffith and wicketkeeper Amara Carr all recently awarded retainer contracts with the ‘Sunrisers’ team, which covers London & East England. While Surrey look to be without England players Bryony Smith and Sophia Dunkley, though Middlesex might also be missing Lauren Bell who was called up to train with England.
The visitors will are likely to open with Dattani and Carr as they did at Lord’s last year. Dattani is one member of the squad who has had the luxury of playing a number of matches this year, both home and away having played in Western Australia’s Premier Women’s competition and club matches for Finchley Cricket Club. On Sunday Dattani struck a boundary-filled 66 at a strong strike-rate of 94.29 and will be aiming to lead from the front on Wednesday. In a T20 last season Carr showed her T20 ability scoring 52 off 48, on that occasion enjoying a 68-run opening stand with Griffith. Albeit in a very different start to a professional cricketing career both Carr and Dattani will be looking to put their increased allrounder training into practice. As will Griffith who accrued 396 runs at 36.00 across both formats last year, including a top T20 score of 57 off 48 in an innings against Sussex which included five fours and a six.
There is strong competition for places in the middle order with batters; Olivia Rae, Natasha Miles and Gemma Marriott as well as allrounders; Kate Coppack and Lucy Porter and a second wicketkeeper/batter option in Iqraa Hussain. Rae showed last season her ability to rotate the strike and form partnerships when required, notably in a 50 over match against Berkshire forming a crucial partnership with Beth Morgan of 41, scoring 28. Rae has had a good start to the season scoring 37 not out and 25 (including two fours and a six). Miles played a key role in Middlesex’s London Cup win last year in a rain-affected match in perhaps the most important eight-run stand of her career with Bell as the pair helped to secured a six-wicket win. Marriott will be hoping to make her debut at the Oval and look to build on her success with the bat last year for Hertfordshire when she averaged 35.00 across 16 games. Coppack also hoping to make her first appearance for Middlesex is a seamer with good control and with bat in hand is likely to play down the ground. Porter has struck 22 and 23 (18) including three fours in Finchley CC’s first two matches of the summer and will look to make an impact in her first season for Middlesex. Hussain had a top score of 32 in a Middlesex development side last season and is quick between the wickets which is always important in T20s.
Middlesex have a strong attack and have several bowlers who could open. If Dattani chooses to go with quicks from both ends then the likely candidates for the new ball are; Gayatri Gole, Katie Wolfe or Sonali Patel. Gole picked up nine wickets last season with best figures of 3-16 in an eight wicket win over Devon. Wolfe enjoyed a successful 2019 claiming 22 wickets at the average of 15.50 and was named as Middlesex Youth Player of the Year. Patel also had a strong season across U17 and senior matches claimed an impressive 29 wickets at 15.31. In the spin department Middlesex have leg-spinner Emily Thorpe and off spinner Bhavika Gajipra available. With Dunkley switching counties Thorpe will have more opportunity with the ball and will look to take on more responsibility. Last season she picked up ten wickets including best figures of 3-24 against Berkshire as Middlesex won the Division Two County Championship. Gajipra also took 10 wickets last summer and will hope to improve on that this year as the most experienced off spinner in the squad.
Due to COVID-19 this fixture could well be the first competitive match some players are involved in this year and with some Regional contracts yet to be awarded there is even more to play for than before.
Middlesex Squad 2020
Naomi Dattani (captain)
Cordelia Griffith (vice-captain)