Middlesex and Sussex are two sides with a rich limited-overs pedigree, but both have struggled in the one-day format in recent years.
In fact, neither of these two have made it past the group stage of the 50-over competition since 2012, when Sussex made the semi-finals. The Sharks have finished bottom of the group table in the last two seasons and have won just one game in those last two campaigns combined.
You have to go back to 2009 for the last time Middlesex featured in the knockout round of a 50 or 40-over competition. The Lord’s side haven’t lifted silverware in those competitions since they clinched the old Sunday League title back in 1992.
Sussex had a very successful season in 2009, winning both the Pro 40 and T20 competitions, having also won the Pro 40 in 2008.
They would love a return to such heights and it’s clear that both of these teams will want to bring about a reversal in their recent limited-overs fortunes.
Middlesex of course have tasted success in the County Championship by ending their long title drought last season. They, along with all the counties, are hoping that the change in schedule this season – which sees the competition played in more of a block – will allow them to give more focus to the Royal London One-Day Cup.
They have started their title defence in slightly stuttering fashion, but have avoided any damaging defeats thus far. They were put on the ropes by Hampshire in their season opener, but battled back to draw, before falling just two wickets short of a victory over Essex.
In Division Two, Sussex have started poorly with two defeats from two games. They have been spared the ignominy of being bottom of the table by the fact that the two teams below them, Leicestershire and Durham, started the season with negative points.
They will therefore probably be grateful to be able to put on some coloured clothing and try to find some form in the One-Day Cup. This promises to be a very even contest at Lord’s and will give us an insight into how these two might fare in the competition this season.
Irishman Paul Stirling was one of Middlesex’s better performers in another disappointing One Day Cup campaign last season. He played in all eight of their matches, scoring 348 runs including two centuries.
He’s yet to feature in first-class cricket this season, and was last in action for Ireland in their first-class match against Afghanistan at the back end of March. He’s a key component of the Middlesex one-day side however, and the hard-hitting Irishman will be a threat to Sussex.
Barbadian Jofra Archer burst onto the scene for Sussex in the latter half of 2016 and made an immediate impression. He played in all three formats and finished the season with an impressive 35 wickets.
The 22-year-old fast bowler has started this season in similarly impressive fashion, taking ten wickets so far in three County Championship innings – including 7-67 in the first innings against Kent. He is a bowler Middlesex will be wary of.
Middlesex include youngster Ryan Higgins in their squad after the talented all-rounder scored 83 in a 50-over game for the Second XI this week. Tom Helm, James Fuller and Ravi Patel also starred in that game and make the squad. Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones are set to continue to lead the attack.
Middlesex Squad: James Franklin (c), Steven Finn, James Fuller, Nick Gubbins, Tom Helm, Ryan Higgins, Dawid Malan, Ravi Patel, Sam Robson, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson (wk), Paul Stirling, Adam Voges
Sussex have signed Jerome Taylor for the majority of their One-Day Cup campaign, as replacement for Vernon Philander who sustained a groin injury against Kent. Taylor though will not arrive in time for this match and is set to make his Sharks debut against Somerset. Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan remain away at the IPL, but Ajmal Shahzad and David Wiese are available after missing the County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire.
19-year-old Jonty Jenner is included in the squad and could make his List A debut.
Sussex Squad: Luke Wright (c), Jofra Archer, Will Beer, Danny Briggs, Ben brown (wk), Laurie Evans, Harry Finch, George Garton, Jonty Jenner, Chris Nash, Ajmal Shahzad, Stiaan van Zyl, David Wiese.
Weather and conditions
It’s set to be a cloudy day at Lord’s with the potential for some rain as the afternoon wears on. Decent conditions for batting are generally expected from Lord’s.
Date: 27th April 2017
Umpires: Nigel Cowley & Steve Gale
Odds (SkyBet): Middlesex 8/11, Sussex 11/10