Murtagh: Middlesex need a win against Yorkshire on Sunday
Middlesex bowler writes in his exclusive column
Given that we’ve had a pretty wretched time in t20, it might sound obvious but I’m looking forward to our 40-over game on Sunday.
I really like the 40-over game – it’s a lot better than the 50-over format in my opinion and I think it produces exciting matches, both for players and spectators.
The powerplays add a different dimension to the game and I think the 40-over format cuts out a bit of that middle section where batsmen are just knocking it around for ones.
Maybe the powers that be might look at shortening the World Cup to a 40-over competition as well. We played a 50-over game against Australia last year and that seemed a ridiculously long game.
We’re going along pretty well in the CB40 competition, but I think we need to win on Sunday. Yorkshire will be a good test for us – they’re a Division One side, even if they’re struggling a bit, and they’ve got quality players.
At least we put up a decent performance in our final home t20 game against Somerset, which was important, and overall it was a much improved effort to tie.
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If you looked at the two teams on paper, we’d certainly have been second favourites but, although we had one of those wickets that’s hard to play your shots on, I thought we bowled well as a unit.
There was a bit of ebb and flow in the run chase – we were looking fairly comfortable until eight overs out, then we lost our way and those two big sixes from Ryan McLaren got us back in it. In a sense, when we needed four from three balls, it was one that got away in the end.
Maybe our squad wasn’t best suited to t20 cricket and of course there were some strong teams in our group, but perhaps the main factor was that we started badly and never really picked up. That’s something that can happen in one-day tournaments – momentum is very important.
While we’re off to Headingley, of course, Straussy will be turning out for Somerset in their tour match against India. It seems a bit strange that he’s playing for another county, but I can see the reasoning.
He needs some batting practice and playing in our second XI or a t20 game probably wasn’t going to provide him with that – whereas playing at Taunton, the best batting wicket in the country, should give him a good opportunity of getting back to form.
In one sense, the plan could backfire if he doesn’t get runs against the Indian bowlers, but I don’t think there’s any danger in letting them have a look at him before the first Test.
They bowled against him in the World Cup not that long ago and there’s so much international cricket played these days that there aren’t many secrets when it comes to players’ strengths and weaknesses.