Eagles close in on qualification as Surrey are stunned at Chelmsford

Essex Eagles v Surrey – Vitality Blast South Group – Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford – Report

Essex Eagles 198/7 (20.0 overs)

Surrey 155/9 (20.0 overs)

Surrey won the toss and elected to bowl

Essex Eagles won by 43 runs

Essex Eagles took a huge step towards the quarter-final stages of the Vitality Blast with an unlikely 43-run victory over runaway South Group leaders, Surrey at the Cloud County Ground. 

While Essex’s progression remained firmly in the balance, Surrey’s quarter-final place was almost assured with nine wins from eleven matches. They looked set for ten when Reece Topley dismissed Adam Rossington in the third over – Jamie Smith showing a safe pair of hands to send the wicketkeeper/batter back to the pavilion for 4. 

However, the Essex innings’ was forged around three notable partnerships as Surrey’s applecart hit a rocky road.

Feroze Khushi and Michael Pepper ensured the power-play was resourceful. They gleaned 69 for the second wicket, Khushi was the man to depart after towering Sunil Narine to Conor McKerr on 23. Pepper swiftly followed two balls later. His 48 came off 18 deliveries and included six 4s and three 6s. Two for Narine – Essex 83 for three as they approached the halfway point of the innings.

Dan Lawrence and Paul Walter kept the scoreboard ticking over, putting together a further 51. However, Lawrence fell to McKerr, and then Daniel Sams came and went to Topley. Jason Roy and Tom Lawes were on-hand to complete the formalities in the field.

Walter hit 49 off 33 before he was emphatically sent back by Topley. The Billericay-born left-hander put on 44 with skipper, Simon Harmer for the sixth wicket. Harmer scored 29 before he was trapped lbw to become Topley’s fourth victim. Essex posted 198/7. Topley returned impressive figures of four for 37 from his four overs for the visitors.

Essex needed quick wickets. Aaron Beard responded magnificently, removing Roy and Will Jacks – the latter superbly caught by Tom Westley. Nevertheless, with batting in-depth, Smith and Rory Burns ensured the rate was in check. Lawrence returned to clip the top of leg-stump and remove Smith for 30, following a third-wicket partnership of 57. 

Burns appeared in the mood. But Beard was his match, forcing the left-hander to drive directly to Walter having his 37 off 26 balls. The game very much still in the balance. 

But two wickets in four balls from Harmer appeared to turn the tide. Narine went caught and bowled. Then Laurie Evans was sent back thanks to a sensational juggling catch on the rope from sub, Ben Allison.

Beard was putting on a sparkling performance with the ball. Allison claimed at mid-on after Lawes had skied one that skipped up. He finished with career-best figures of 4/29. 

The result – coming hot on the heels of a 21-run triumph over Middlesex at Lord’s – could prove to be pivotal ahead of their final group matches against Sussex Sharks and Glamorgan as the Eagles look to replicate their memorable title success at Edgbaston back in September 2019.

Essex now turn their attention to the LV=Insurance County Championship where they face Hampshire in a Division One encounter at the Cloud County Ground on Sunday, June 26-29 (11am).

Essex Eagles: AM Rossington (WK), FIN Khushi, MS Pepper, DW Lawrence, PI Walter, T Westley, DR Sams, SR Harmer (Capt), ASS Nijjar, AP Beard, SJ Cook

Surrey: WG Jacks, JJ Roy, JL Smith (WK), LJ Evans, RJ Burns, SP Narine, CJ Jordan (Capt), TE Lawes, C McKerr, DT Moriarty, RJW Topley

Umpires: GD Lloyd and JD Middlebrook

Scorers: AE Choat and Debbie Beesley

Match Referee: Alec Swann

Brian Jeeves

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