Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Glamorgan v Middlesex

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Glamorgan v Middlesex

Marnus Labuschagne (pic via YouTube, with thanks)

Can Glamorgan make it two in a row as they welcome back Marnus Labuschagne?

Glamorgan are now just one point behind Middlesex following their surprise victory over Sussex last week and the early rounds indicate that the competition for promotion may be more open than expected. Both sides have four draws and a win so far and if either team can come away with a victory this week it would be a big boost to their promotion chances.

Both bowling attacks will be hoping for a little more assistance than they received in round one at Lord’s when over 1300 runs were scored in two and a bit innings and they will take heart from the goings on last week in Cardiff. Glamorgan had been the draw specialists in 2023, their strong batting line up not matched in the bowling department. Their overseas signing Mia Hamza came to the party against Sussex with seven wickets and a fifer from the medium pace of Andy Gorvin set up the win. The headache for coach Grant Bradburn this week results from the arrival of Marnus Labuschagne. The lack of bowling options means Hamza has to play, but Colin Ingram has 637 runs at 106.16 and will have to be dropped to allow Labuschagne to come in. Employing either to play second XI cricket is an expensive luxury. Glamorgan also have the second highest Championship run scorer in Sam Northeast with 568 at 94.66.

Middlesex sat out round six having played a rain affected match against Leicestershire last time out. Luis du Plooy is the third highest run scorer in Division Two with 507 at 84.50 and his signing has patched up the batting weaknesses of last season. If the talented seam attack can deliver, then they will be hopeful of maintaining their challenge for promotion.

Middlesex look the stronger outfit, particularly in the bowling department, but Glamorgan will come into this game full of confidence. Hopefully there will be enough in the pitch to create a good competition between bat and ball. 

Key players

Mia Hamza has two more games before he returns home and made his first significant contribution in the win against Sussex. His left arm seam is delivered at no more than medium fast pace, but he can move the ball both ways. Glamorgan will be hoping he can help them to another win this week.

Bowlers win Championship matches and Tom Helm is now into his 11th season at Middlesex having taken 154 wickets at 31.15 in his 54 first class games. It is over seven years since he toured Sri Lanka with England Lions and injuries then stalled his international ambitions. At 30-years-old he could still force his way back into contention, but for the present he will be focussed on Middlesex’s promotion bid.

Team news

Gorvin replaced Jamie McIlroy against Sussex and had immediate success. McIlroy may come in to allow James Harris to be rested, while Timm van der Gugten and Harry Podmore are playing in a second XI game this week, after being out since the start of the season with injuries. Labuschagne did not feature in this second team game and will presumably make his first appearance of the season.

Glamorgan squad (from): Sam Northeast (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Mason Crane, Dan Douthwaite, Andy Gorvin, Mir Hamza, James Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Jamie McIlory, Billy Root, Zain ul Hassan

Middlesex have had a week off and should be able to select their strongest XI. Joshua de Cairies missed the Leicestershire game because of an infection in his right index finger, but has been back in second XI action.

Middlesex squad (from): Toby Roland-Jones (c), Ethan Bamber, Henry Brookes, Jack Davies (wk), Joshua de Caires, Leus du Plooy, Steve Eskinazi, Nathan Fernandes, Tom Helm, Ryan Higgins, Max Holden, Luke Hollman, Ishaan Kaushal, Sam Robson, Mark Stoneman

Weather and Conditions

There is a risk of showers, particularly on day one, with day three looking to be the best day. Hopefully there will be minimal interruption to play, Sophia Gardens having the benefit of a fast draining outfield.

Any help for the bowlers will be on the first day, so expect the captain winning the toss to bowl first.

Date: 17th May 2024

Time: 11:00

Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff


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