NatWest T20 Blast preview: Somerset aim to take championship form into week of T20 Blast action

Middx t20 ASomerset head into a week of NatWest T20 Blast action today on the back of their successive morale boosting wins in the County Championship which have put their season back on track.

They now face three T20 matches over the next eight days, starting with a game against Middlesex at Uxbridge tonight, and will hope to fully reignite their white ball form after a slightly uneven campaign so far.

New Zealand wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi joins the squad for the first time and Somerset will be hoping he will bring with him the brand of cricket the Kiwis have become synonymous with since the World Cup.

Somerset are currently seventh in the table with seven points from seven matches, three of which they have won, including last week’s derby clash at Bristol with Gloucestershire. Middlesex are in eighth place on four points having also played seven matches of which they have won two.Ronchi tweet 2

Middlesex will be bolstered by the return of England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan from international duty, while Somerset will also come up against former team mate Nick Compton.

In his column for the London 24 website yesterday, Compton admits that Somerset will still be a force, even without Chris Gayle and predicts a “tough encounter” between the two sides.

Compton said of Ronchi: “What a good addition that promises to be. He’s a dynamic cricketer who’s very much part of what’s come to be seen as the ‘New Zealand way’.

“New Zealand’s recent one-day series with England was fantastic – it’s shown what can be achieved if you go through those mental barriers. The boundaries have really been pushed back.”

Compton said Morgan’s return would provide a huge boost for Middlesex: “Hopefully Eoin Morgan’s influence can also have a positive effect on the rest of us at Middlesex – he’s in great form at the moment and it’ll be a real bonus to have him back against Somerset.”Compo tweet

With Ronchi making his debut, Abdur Rehman will play as the second overseas player now that Sohail Tanveer’s stint with the club has come to an end. Following on from his man of the match performance against Gloucestershire last Friday, Johann Myburgh will retain his place at the top of the order.

Somerset Director of cricket Matthew Maynard said: “Luke will add power to our middle order as a proven big hitter and we look forward to see him settle into the side.

“Johann Myburgh and Jim Allenby looked a very effective opening partnership against Gloucestershire and we are hoping they can get us off to more good starts for the duration of the tournament.

“With Peter Trego, James Hildreth and Tom Cooper ahead of Luke, we should have some serious depth to our batting.”

Tim Groenewald will replace Tanveer in the bowling attack to face Middlesex and Maynard is looking for more of the same from his team after their derby success at Bristol. He said: “The win over Gloucestershire in our last T20 game was as good a performance as we have put in this season.

“The bowlers set it up in the first six overs and, although we now lose Sohail Tanveer, who performed well with the ball for us, we have a structure to work with that can continue to be effective.

“Middlesex will be boosted by having Eoin Morgan back in the side and we all know what sort of form he has been in for England so, while results haven’t gone their way so far, we know what dangerous opponents they could prove.”

Somerset have named the following squad to travel to London: Jim Allenby, Johann Myburgh, Pete Trego, James Hildreth, Tom Cooper, Luke Ronchi (wk), Lewis Gregory, Max Waller, Tim Groenewald, Jamie Overton, Abdur Rehman and Alfonso Thomas (captain).

Middlesex have also announced the following thirteen man squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Kyle Abbott, Andy Balbirnie, Nick Compton, James Franklin, Nick Gubbins, James, Harris, Ryan Higgins, Ravi Patel, Harry Podmore, Ollie Rayner, John Simpson and Paul Stirling.

You can read Nick Compton’s full column for London 24 here: http://www.london24.com/sport/cricket/in_the_middle_middlesex_cricket_column_with_nick_compton_1_4126478