We're in it to win it - Malan
Dawid Malan insists Middlesex will not settle for just making up the numbers in the Friends Life t20.
The Panthers currently sit second bottom of a tricky South Group, having lost their opening two games prior to Monday’s six-wicket victory over Hampshire.
It is difficult to glean too much this early in the campaign, however, and Malan is all too aware of the lift Middlesex could give themselves as they play games on back-to-back days.
Essex are the opponents this evening while tomorrow provides an opportunity to avenge the defeat to Sussex in the first encounter of this year’s campaign.
Malan told ecb.co.uk: “Twenty20 is a strange game; if you can get on a roll and start winning a few then anything can happen.
“These next two games are definitely the big ones for us and if we can get two wins out of these two then we are right back in the tournament.
“We would be pushing for a place (in the latter stages) and that is our aim to be honest. We want to win this tournament; we are not interested in just competing.”
Middlesex’s chances were hurt before this year’s competition even got under way after Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga pulled out of a proposed stint at Lord’s.
Malan concedes his loss is a huge blow, especially given death bowling - of which Malinga is arguably the world’s premier practitioner - is an area upon which the Panthers could improve.
“He would have made a massive impact to our team,” added Malan. “Our death bowling in the last couple of years has struggled a little bit.
“We have let teams off the hook, so having someone like Malinga bowling at the death would have changed our whole campaign I think.
“If you look at the first couple of games this year, we had teams 30 for four and did not finish them off. Someone like him can change the game for you and that is what Twenty20 is about - match-winners.
“He obviously pulled out late, so we did not get a chance to get a replacement of a high enough quality, but that’s the way it goes and we are backing ourselves to still compete.”
With scores of 26, 38 and 46, Malan should be feeling relatively content with his efforts in the sprint format thus far.
Yet the 24-year-old, who first made his name by striking a stunning 51-ball century in the 2008 quarter-finals en route to a season haul of 297 runs in Middlesex’s victorious campaign, is not satisfied just yet.
“I love Twenty20; it’s one of my highlights of the year,” he admitted. “As much as I love the other formats, Twenty20 is just so much fun.
“I am a bit disappointed I have not capitalised on the starts that I have had, but happy with the way I have gone so far. I am hoping to improve on those scores in the next couple of games and contribute to the team winning.”