ESSEX Eagles travel to Lords to take on Middlesex in a must-win game for both sides if they are to qualify for the quarter finals tonight.

The Eagles currently sit fourth with four games to go and a win would see them move third above Gloucestershire and one point off Somerset in second place.

Simon Harmer’s side have had a decent campaign so far with five wins, four losses and one no result putting them in a strong position to progress.

Middlesex on the other hand sit down in seventh place with eight points having played a game more than Essex and they simply can’t afford to lose or it looks an impossible task to reach the next round.

The home side have only won one of their last eight matches in the Blast and that was against bottom side Kent Spitfires.

The Eagles lost their last match by eight wickets to second place Somerset and will be hoping to return to winning ways at Lords.

Essex ran out comfortable winners when these two sides faced each other a couple of weeks ago at Chelmsford, winning by 61 runs.

Feroze Khushi was brilliant with the bat smashing 67 runs from just 40 balls to help Essex post 186 runs for six wickets. The opening batsman has scored 128 runs from the four T20 Blast matches he has played this season.

Sam Cook took three wickets for just 18 runs and Matt Critchley took three for 22 to bowl Middlesex out for just 125.

Essex will be hoping for a repeat of that tonight from their bowling attack.

Michael Pepper has had an excellent tournament so far for the visitors, scoring three half centuries with a top score of 86 not out last time out in the Eagles defeat to Somerset.

Pepper will be the biggest threat against Middlesex and a big score from the wicketkeeper batter will be crucial to Essex picking up the two points.

Middlesex overseas star Jason Behrendorff will be their best hope of picking up Pepper’s wicket. The Australian international has been excellent since signing at the end of May, including taking one wicket for 22 runs from three overs in the defeat to Glamorgan last time out.

The home side have desperately missed England white ball captain Eoin Morgan throughout the campaign. Morgan has only played three T20 Blast matches this campaign due to IPL and international commitments.

Both sides fell well short of qualifying for the next round of the T20 Blast last year and Essex will be hoping they can hold on to a quarter final spot and improve a lot on last year’s campaign.