Middlesex are gaining Twenty20 momentum, says Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan hits out for Middlesex. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Dawid Malan hits out for Middlesex. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Skipper Dawid Malan believes Middlesex’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign is gathering pace after they recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The Lord’s side, who have largely underperformed in the shortest form of the game ever since they were crowned T20 champions in 2008, defeated Somerset and Kent in successive games last week.

Those results lifted them to third place in the South Group table at the halfway stage – which would take Middlesex through to the knockout phase of the tournament for the first time since their 2008 triumph.

Malan’s team held firm in the closing stages of their rain-reduced game against Somerset, edging home by four runs – and the captain feels that tenacity at the death is a key factor in their improvement this season.

“Twenty20’s a game of fine lines and that’s where we’ve been falling short the last couple of years,” said the 28-year-old, who took over the leadership of Middlesex’s T20 side for the first time this year.

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“I think there were four games last year in which we were favourites up until the second last over and ended up losing, either with the bat or the ball.

“The way we train and approach can pay dividends and make a difference so, from that point of view, we went away and worked at our skills and I think we’ve put a bit extra into it.

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“At Merchant Taylor’s School [against Gloucestershire] our skills let us down a bit and if we’d won that game, we would have been in a perfect position in this group.

“Everyone talks about Twenty20 being a momentum game and after getting over the line twice in a row, suddenly we’re off and running. It’s massive, but we’ve got to be on our game again next time.”

Middlesex’s next T20 assignment comes on Friday, when they travel to Hove to face Sussex (7pm), with new overseas signing George Bailey expected to make his debut for the club.

The Australian star arrived in London this week as a replacement for Brendon McCullum, who signed off his spell at Middlesex in style by hitting an unbeaten 87 to set up their 40-run victory against Kent.

Malan also impressed with the bat, outscoring McCullum with 60 in a century partnership for the opening wicket, following his unbeaten knock of 53 in the previous game against Somerset.

That kept the Middlesex left-hander in good form ahead of his call-up to the England side, who take on Sri Lanka in a Twenty20 international at Southampton next week.

Malan’s selection means he will be absent from the Middlesex squad when they face Yorkshire in their next County Championship fixture at Scarborough, starting on Sunday.

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