Round one of the English Test County Championship 2021 features a marquee clash between heavyweights Middlesex and Somerset at Lord's on Thursday.
Perennial contenders Somerset are back in action with renewed hopes. They possess one of the most well-rounded teams in the County Championship, with Tom Banton and Lewis Gregory's availability being a huge positive. Somerset also have a nice blend of youth and experience, with the likes of Craig Overton and James Hildreth in their ranks.
However, Somerset are up against a Middlesex side that boasts one of the best bowling attacks in the County Championship. Led by Stephen Eskinazi, Middlesex will be looking to better their third-place finish (South Group) in last year's Bob Willis Trophy. With Peter Handscomb also set to join the side for the entire season, expectations are quite high among the Middlesex faithful.
However, they will head into the County Championship game as underdogs against a Somerset side that finished second in their last two red-ball competitions. Nevertheless, Middlesex have a bowling attack capable of troubling Tom Abell and co., with home conditions also playing into their hands. All in all, a thrilling contest beckons, with both sides eager to kickstart their County Championship campaign with a win at the iconic Lord's.
Squads to choose from
Sam Robson, Max Holden, Peter Handscomb, Nick Gubbins, Stephen Eskinazi, Robbie White, John Simpson, James Harris, Toby Roland-Jones, Tim Murtagh, Steve Finn, Nathan Sowter, Martin Andersson, Jack Davies, Tom Helm, Ethan Bamber, Joe Cracknell, Blake Cullen, Thulan Walallawita, Josh de Caires and Luke Hollman
Tom Banton, Tom Lammonby, Tom Abell, James Hildreth, George Bartlett, Steven Davies, Craig Overton, Lewis Gregory, Josh Davey, Jack Leach, Jack Brooks, Eddie Byrom, Roelof van der Merwe, Marchant de Lange, Kasey Aldrige, Lewis Goldsworthy, Ollie Sale, William Smeed, Sam Young, Ben Green and Ned Leonard
Predicted Playing XIs
Sam Robson, Max Holden, Martin Andersson, Nick Gubbins, Stephen Eskinazi, Robbie White, John Simpson, James Harris, Toby Roland-Jones, Tim Murtagh and Steve Finn
Tom Banton, Tom Lammonby, Tom Abell, James Hildreth, George Bartlett, Steven Davies, Craig Overton, Lewis Gregory, Josh Davey, Jack Leach and Jack Brooks/Marchant de Lange
Match: Middlesex vs Somerset, Group 2
Date & Time: 8th April 2021, at 3:30 PM IST
Venue: Lord's, London
A decent pitch beckons at Lord's, with lots of help on offer for the pacers early on. The bowlers should get some swing and extra bounce off the surface as the batsmen will need to bide their time in the middle and see out the new ball. Both teams will ideally look to bowl first, with conditions being perfect for the pacers to nail some early wickets.
County Championship Dream11 Fantasy Suggestions (MID vs SOM)
Fantasy Suggestion #1: Tom Banton, Nick Gubbins, Stephen Eskinazi, Tom Abell, Craig Overton, James Harris, Lewis Gregory, Toby Roland-Jones, Josh Davey, Steve Finn and Tim Murtagh
Captain: Lewis Gregory. Vice-captain: Stephen Eskinazi
Fantasy Suggestion #2: Tom Banton, Sam Robson, Stephen Eskinazi, Tom Abell, Craig Overton,Tom Lammonby, Lewis Gregory, Toby Roland-Jones, Josh Davey, Steve Finn and Tim Murtagh
Captain: Stephen Eskinazi. Vice-captain: Craig Overton