After finishing second in North Division, Nottinghamshire Outlaws will host Middlesex, who came third in South Division, for the second quarterfinal of the 2019 Vitality Blast, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
While the four abandoned matches did play a role in the Outlaws attaining second spot, they have played some outstanding cricket as well. They posted 198/5 against Derbyshire Falcons as well as bowled out Birmingham Bears for 113 and later restricted them to 126/9. The 47-run defeat against Durham in their last league match should not affect them much.
The Outlaws have been driven by the big hitting of Dan Christian (strike rate 144) and Tom Moores (146), some tight bowling from Imad Wasim (economy 6.42) and Samit Patel (6.55), and Harry Gurney's ability to strike at crucial junctures. The all-round skills of Imad Wasim, Christian, and Patel have lent balance to their side, while Alex Hales' experience has been a big bonus.
Unlike the Outlaws, Middlesex are on a high. They needed to chase 227 in their last match – a record in England's domestic T20 cricket – to beat Somerset and qualify for the quarterfinals. They reached there with 3 overs in hand, thanks to Eoin Morgan's pyrokinetics. However, they had lost their 3 previous matches.
Middlesex had won 6 of their first 9 matches before running into a lean patch, only reviving themselves in that last match. Theirs has been a journey of big hitting in high-scoring matches. They have crossed 200 four times (209/3 and 210/8 against Surrey, 215/4 and 227/4 in 47 overs against Somerset), but have also conceded 200 twice (204/4 to Kent Spitfires, 226/5 to Somerset).
AB de Villiers (average 84.25, SR 185) has been so outrageous that Morgan (168), Dawid Malan (151), and Jack Simpson (140) almost pale in comparison. Mujeeb Ur Rahman – their most economic bowler – is away on national duty, but they do have some strike bowlers in Toby Roland-Jones (19 wickets), Steven Finn (19), Nathan Sowter (16), and Tom Helm (15).
Head to head
Nottinghamshire and Middlesex have never met in England's domestic T20 league.
Dan Christian (Nottinghamshire Outlaws): Christian is yet to make a big score here, but he has got his runs quicker than anyone but Moores. He has also picked up 7 wickets, and is an excellent fielder.
AB de Villiers (Middlesex): Middlesex do have a line-up of super-sloggers, but de Villiers stands out even among them. The Outlaws are fully aware that no match is over till they see the back of this man.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws: Joe Clarke, Alex Hales, Ben Duckett, Jake Libby, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (wk), Dan Christian (c), Imad Wasim, Luke Fletcher, Matthew Carter, Harry Gurney.
Middlesex: Dawid Malan (c), Paul Stirling, AB de Villiers, Mohammad Hafeez, Eoin Morgan, George Scott, John Simpson (wk), Toby Roland-Jones, Tom Helm, Nathan Sowter, Steven Finn.
Nottinghamshire to win.