Today’s English Test County Championship is between Surrey and Middlesex. Both sides have made a few tactical alterations that they will implement in today's play. The Kia Oval hosts the second London derby of the season, with Sky cameras likely to be there as Surrey seeks retribution on local rivals Middlesex after being hammered by 10 wickets at Lord's earlier in the season.
Today’s match prediction, after being picked in the team for the next test series against New Zealand at the beginning of June, Surrey skipper Rory Burns, batsman Ollie Pope, and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes will have one more chance to push their cause for an England test berth in this match. Surrey has won one and drawn two of their previous three games, reversing their early-season slide. The weather halted that turnaround in the encounter with Somerset, but green shoots of recovery are visible.
Middlesex's batting has been abysmal this season, letting down their dependable bowling team. Peter Handscomb, Australia's overseas captain, has struggled with the bat and will be anxious to contribute with runs on what is usually an excellent batting track at the Kia Oval. Despite the game is greatly influenced by weather, Middlesex suffered another humiliating defeat at the hands of Hampshire last time around. They've only won once all season, and that win came against this week's opponents. They'll be hoping for a repeat performance to give their red-ball campaign some legitimacy.
Surrey is in fourth place in Group 2 of the County Championship 2021, with one win, two defeats, and three draws from their six league matches. The team now has 68 points.
With 518 runs at a strike rate of 76, Ollie Pope is Surrey's leading run-scorer. He's hit 62 fours and two sixes. Rory Burns, who has a strike rate of 53, has also scored 386 runs.
Jordan Clark has been Surrey's most effective bowler, taking 14 wickets at an aggregate of 28 and an economy rate of 3.29.
Middlesex is in the fifth position in Group 2 of the County Championship 2021, having won one and lost five of their six league matches. The team now has 44 points.
Middlesex's leading run-scorer is Sam Robson, who has 386 runs at a strike rate of 48. He's hit number 54. RG White has also scored 351 runs with a 41 per cent strike-rate.
Tim Murtagh has been Middlesex's most effective bowler, taking 25 wickets at an aggregate of 17 and an economy rate of 2.67.
Playing 11 today will be determined by a number of things. Due to active matches, a few players will be unavailable. Here is the squad from which playing 11 will be selected:
This season, Hashim Amla will be a huge asset for Surrey. Unlike Burns, the seasoned batsman has over 18,000 first-class runs to his name, including 52 hundred and 88 fifties. Foakes and his teammates will not be away on international duty during the season. Despite his age, Amla has the ability to be a run machine at the Oval.
Last season, Surrey's speed attack was a shell of its former self, so the Somerset fast has been brought in to fill Morné Morkel's size 14s. With the crafty West Indian Kemar Roach, he'll make a formidable new-ball tandem for the first seven matches of the season.
Gubbins, who was such a superb player when he was at his prime, appeared to be getting closer to that level in 2020 when he amassed 350 runs, the highest among his dressing room by a long shot. Although he was forced to miss a game after coming into touch with a positive tester, his tournament peaked with 192 in a fantastic triumph against Surrey.
Middlesex's new captain will play an important part in the club's middle order, as well as adjusting to his new charges once he comes from Australia. He has previously worked for the counties of Gloucestershire and Durham.
At the very least, Surrey has performed admirably with the bat. With Mark Stoneman and Hashim Amla settling into the season, they have a lot of quality around him. Ollie Pope is naturally their most in-form player, having scored two spectacular hundreds. With five fifties under his belt, Rory Burns is likewise reaching his peak. However, he must convert at least one of those into a massive score to establish his dominance over England's top order.
Middlesex has struggled for runs this season, with Sam Robson and Robbie White the only two players who have made significant contributions. Tim Murtagh and Ethan Bamber have managed to pursue the line well with the ball, taking 46 wickets between them, with the former Ireland Test player taking 25 at 17.12.
Top Batter (Runs Scored) – Ollie Pope (Surrey), Sam Robson (Middlesex)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Jordan Clark (Surrey), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex)
Most Sixes – Rory Burns (Surrey), Sam Robson (Middlesex)
The hosts have a significantly stronger batting line-up and playing on a flatter pitch will help them recover from their poor performance in the reverse encounter. When considering the status of Middlesex's top order and today’s pitch report, their bowling attack should have enough talent to pick up 20 wickets, therefore Surrey to avenge their neighbours by earning their second County Championship win of the season has to be favoured.
Unfortunately, with the weather report today and its prediction not looking good for the next four days, any aspirations either team has of winning may be dashed. However, if both sides have enough playing time to compel a result, Surrey has to be the favourite. Rain will be in the forecast for the first two days of the match, but by Saturday morning, it will have passed, clearing the way for a result to be forced in this crucial match.
Much will hinge on if Gubbins, Holden, Handscomb, and Sam Robson, Middlesex's batting order, can provide the results that Middlesex needs. There won't be many more powerful seam attacks than Murtagh's, Helm's, Harris', Finn's, and Roland-Jones' if they succeed. Middlesex has been on the back foot all season, with memories of their title-winning season in 2016 fading fast. Surrey hasn't fared much better, but they're heavy favourites in this match.
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