Essex Eagles entertain Middlesex at The Cloudfm County Ground on Friday having started the Vitality Blast campaign with a disappointing defeat to Sussex Sharks on Wednesday night.
The Sharks won by 36 runs after posting a score of 181 for 6, with the Eagles bowled out for 145, Sussex fast-medium bowler David Wiese picking up 5 for 24.
Eagles skipper, Ryan ten Doeschate, is looking for an immediate improvement from his squad and get the campaign up and running in front of packed house at Chelmsford.
“It’s good that we have an early chance to rectify matters because overall, we just weren’t good enough on the night,” he admitted.
“They probably got 20 more than we would have liked and we needed to have put in a better batting display. I thought our bowling was okay for much of the time but when we did have them on the ropes, we couldn’t capitalise. I think about 160 was about par on that wicket but we let them off the hook.
“We were facing two world-class bowlers when we were batting and we always knew it was going to be tough. They kept picking up wickets and the pressure was always on, particularly when the asking rate gets up above ten with eight overs to go, then that’s tough.
“So there is a lot of work to be done before we face Middlesex and hopefully, we can sort out a lot of things ahead of the match on Friday. We need to look at a number of aspects of our play but we do have some very good players in our dressing room and I’m expecting them to turn things around. But we do need to review a few things and work out where we need to be stronger.”
And the Essex Eagles captain is not ruling out changes to the side ahead of Friday’s sell-out match.
“We may need to change the team around a little bit and try and get a better balance,” he acknowledged. “Tactically I think we may have too many bowlers in there and so maybe playing an extra batter is one option.
“With the talent we have in the squad, perhaps we are still finding out what our best team is and what our best formula is. We need to look at our selection progress and need to learn from the Sussex defeat – and quickly.”
Middlesex include West Indian Dwayne Bravo, one of their two Overseas players, along with Australian, Hilton Cartwright. The 34-year-old Bravo has played 66 Twenty20 internationals, averaging 24.29 with the bat and taking 52 wickets at an average of 28.26 and spent the briefest of time with Essex back in 2010.
Essex Eagles squad to face Middlesex:
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Adam Wheater (31) Wicket-Keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Varun Chopra (6)
Matt Coles (1)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Ashar Zaidi (99)
Adam Zampa (88)
Report provided by Essex CCC