5/2/2017 0 Comments
Essex and Surrey played out an absolute humdinger as the Eagles snuck home by one-wicket in a low-scoring thriller at the Oval. South African Kolpak Simon Harmer was the visitors’ hero as he struck an unbeaten 44 to lead his new county to success.
Chasing a below-par 210 for victory the Eagles were off to the worst possible start losing Nick Browne, Alastair Cook and Varun Chopra early on to leave Chris Silverwood’s men in trouble on 12/3. Tom Westley (34) and Ravi Bopara (36) steadied the ship by sharing 66-runs for the fourth wicket but the pair were soon back in the hutch in quick succession to put the Eagles behind the eight ball once again. Both would’ve been disappointed in the way they were dismissed playing poor shots as they seemingly suffered a rush of blood to the head to fall to the impressive Dernbach (4-31).
The hosts soon became red-hot favourites when Adam Wheater played an equally rash shot to gift his wicket to Ravi Rampaul. Ryan ten Doeschate and Sunday’s hero Ashar Zaidi were brought together with the task of seeing the Eagles home to their paltry looking target. Zaidi, though, couldn’t repeat his heroics and hauled out to Tom Curran off the bowling of veteran Gareth Batty (2-45). That brought Harmer to the middle to join his skipper and the South African showed tremendous composure and class to aid ten Doeschate to whittle down the target. The Kolpak duo shared 51 for the eighth wicket before the flying Dutchman was strangled down the leg-side by a wayward off-spinner from Batty to fall for a well-made 45.
Harmer continued to impress however and took on the mantle of making the remaining 30 odd runs with the tail. New Zealander Neil Wagner offered some resistance before being tempted into a big hook shot and offering a simple catch to Dom Sibley on the boundary rope to fall for 4. Suddenly Surrey were looking to steal a win that looked so unlikely at the interval. Harmer though farmed the strike brilliantly alongside Matt Quinn who bravely picked up the singles and a streaky four to edge the Eagles closer to victory. And they did steal a dramatic win in the final over as Harmer fittingly swung a full-toss from Sam Curran to the fence for four to give the Eagles their second win on the spin.
Earlier in the day, Quinn and Bopara took three wickets apiece to restrict the hosts to a modest total after Surrey won the toss and elected to bat under blue skies. Perhaps the key moments came when Wagner sent down a beauty to tickle the edge of Kumar Sangakkara’s bat to remove the Sri Lankan for just six. In reality the host never recovered from finding themselves on 46/4, but good runs from former Essex wicketkeeper Ben Foakes (77 not out), Scott Borthwick (37) and Tom Curran (33) at least gave the ‘Rey’s bowlers something to bowl at by reaching 210 but Essex squeaked home in dramatic fashion with four-balls to spare.
Elsewhere, in the south group, Somerset and Kent played out an equally enthralling game. Over 700-runs were scored in the encounter as the Taunton faithful saw runs galore. Indeed, there were three centurions in this entertaining Royal London One-Day Cup, including a rapid ton for Kent’s Alex Blake. The Spitfires middle-order batsman struck ten fours and a staggering seven sixes to race to 46-ball hundred to propel the visitors total passed 350. Blake shared a 120-run stand with fellow centurion Daniel Bell-Drummond who made a far more sedate century striking just eight-fours in his knock of 106 off 120 balls as Kent made a massive 352/6 from their 50-overs. That put the visitors firmly in the box seat, but Peter Trego, loved by so many in the West Country has the Taunton faithful ducking and diving once more as he smeared a further six sixes to give more catching practice to the Somerset members in the crowd. Although he was aggressive in his approach Trego underpinned the innings magnificently making a crucial 135 that included vital stands with Dean Elgar (55) and James Hildreth (64) as the trio chipped away at their mammoth target. And although Trego departed with 58-runs required he has put his side back in control of the encounter with a vital ton, it left Roelof Van der Merwe and Lewis Gregory the task of seeing the job through and the pair duly delivered sharing 17-runs for the seventh wicket to take the hosts to victory with 15-balls to spare in a remarkable contest at the Coopers County Ground.
Meanwhile, at Hove, Sussex claimed their first success of the season in the 50-over cup as they secured a 58-run (D/L) win over Glamorgan. After winning the toss and electing the bat the hosts made 292/6 thanks largely to a century stand between Ben Brown and the impressive Stiaan van Zyl. New summer signing van Zyl made a vital 96 that included seven fours and a duo of sixes before hauling out to Jacques Rudolph hunting for his century. His stand of 116-runs with Brown underpinned his side’s total, which proved too hot to handle for their Welsh counterparts. A rain break marginally reduced the visitors total to 281 but regular wickets meant they were never really in the hunt. Rudolph (51) and Chris Cooke (62) threaten to spoil the host’s party but when they fell to Danny Briggs (3-53) and David Weise (2-40) respectively the game was all but up for the visitors. Victory for the hosts was confirmed when Marchant De Lange was bowled by the rapid Jofra Archer (2-30) with the Welsh side all out for 221 some way short of their victory target.
We travel north now and to the 3aaa County Ground in Derby as Derbyshire fell to a four-wicket defeat at the hands of near neighbours Nottinghamshire. The visitors were blessed with international stars including James Pattinson, Stuart Broad, Michael Lumb and Alex Hales and they needed to call on the experience of every single one of them to sneak home in this encounter. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Derbyshire skipper Billy Godleman set about proving he made the right decision but sharing 148 for the first wicket alongside Ben Slater. Slater (72) struck eight-fours before being run out by Riki Wessels to be the first man to fall. Godleman continued his fine early season form though to reach the nervous nineties for the second game in succession and the former Essex man failed to get a century again as he fell to Samit Patel for 90 with the score on 209/3. Wayne Madsen (66 not out), Daryn Smit (21) and Gary Wilson (22 not out) pushed the Falcons to a competitive score though as the hosts ended on 303/4. Rain reduced the Outlaws target to 286 from 47-overs and England one-day opener Alex Hales soon went about making that task more manageable with a typically aggressive display of batting as he plundered 11 fours and two sixes on his way to 77 off just 58-balls to get Nottinghamshire off to a flying start. When Matthew Critchley removed the opener the score had already reached 130/2 off just 18.2 overs. Wessels was equally aggressive when he was joined at the crease by Patel as the duo added a further 41-runs to add more impetus to the chase. Wessels fell on 67 to the bowling of Derbyshire overseas Jeevan Mendis but by then the visitors were in complete command of the chase with just a further 115-runs needed in 22-overs. A walk in the park in modern cricket, and Brendan Taylor and Patel chipped that all the way down to just 44-run when Taylor hit Mendis to Shiv Thakor to fall for 22. Hope then sprung eternal for the Derbyshire faithful as Patel fell just three runs later as Madsen removed the former England all-rounder for a well-made 59. Billy Root, the brother of Joe, saw the visitors home though finishing unbeaten on 23 as the Outlaws secured the local bragging rights to seal victory in the last over.
And finally, Leicestershire’s Mark Pettini thwacked a career-best 159 to star in a comfortable 103-run success over Warwickshire at Grace Road. The former Essex captain hit 19 fours in his 135-ball stay to dominate his sides’ total of 363/7. The opener was well supported by Aadil Ali (52) and Tom Wells (67) as the hosts went run crazy in front of their home fans. Warwickshire’s woeful season continued however as their bowlers were carted all around the park with only Keith Barker (3-65) offering any resistance. It was Barker who eventually removed Pettini who skied a catch to Sam Hain to fall for his List A high of 159, but by then the damage has been done from a Warwickshire point of view as the hosts had already reached a commanding 328/4, Wells clubbed a few more to add an even more gloss to the total as the Foxes reached 363/7 from their 50-overs. In reply, the visitors lost wickets in clusters as the Bears never really threatened to chase down their mammoth target. Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose were the only two to offer the visitors any hope as the duo added 118-runs for the fourth wicket with Hain making a welcome return to form striking a century that included eleven fours, but when he went for 103 to Tom Wells any momentum the Bears had built up went. Ambrose followed soon after and with his wicket went the match for Warwickshire. He fell for 83 to Wells who continued his fine all-round performance to finish with bowling figures of 3-44. A late order batting collapse somewhat summed up the visitors season thus far as they lost their last five wickets for just 10-runs as Gavin Griffiths (3-35) and Cameron Delport wrapped up the match for Leicestershire who ran out deserved winners.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
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