Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Leics Group 2 2021

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John Simpson finds late support to rescue another top-order wobble

Middlesex 260 for 7 (Simpson 73*) vs Leicestershire

Middlesex feel they would have doubled their wins tally for the season but for the badly-timed arrival of rain at The Kia Oval last week and arrived here with a sense of relative optimism after another season in which that mood has been experienced only intermittently.

Moreover, against the only team in Group Two with a worse record than theirs, they have at least given themselves a chance of securing the second win that eluded them last week, following a fightback from 132 for 6 in the final session.

Increasingly frustrated with senior players unable to summon consistent form, Middlesex’s selection policy is shifting towards giving younger players their head. With the 39-year-old Tim Murtagh rested, the average age of their bowling attack here drops dramatically to 23.

Youngest among them is the legspinning allrounder Luke Hollman, who will not be 21 until mid-September. He and the 22-year-old left-armer Thilan Walallawita, with eight first-class appearances between them, have been backed to exploit what promises to be a turning pitch, which is a fair vote of confidence from head coach Stuart Law.
In the meantime, Hollman has already made an impression with the bat. Playing in only his third first-class match, he batted almost two hours for his 32 – his highest red-ball score so far – and his support for John Simpson rescued a day that had threatened to leave Leicestershire in firm control. Tall, strongly built and, as he has already demonstrated in T20 cricket, a powerful hitter, this showed that he can also keep an end up with a high degree of competence.