Essex Eagles v Kent Spitfires – Cloudfm County Ground
Essex Eagles 189/6 (20.0 overs)
Kent Spitfire 179 (20.0 overs)
Essex Eagles won the toss and elected to bat
Essex Eagles won by 10 runs
CAMERON DELPORT top-scored with 64, while Ravi Bopara was again amongst the runs as Essex Eagles defied the odds to book a Vitality Blast quarter-final tie with Lancashire.
It had been a contrasting T20 campaign for both the Eagles and old adversaries, Kent Spitfires. While Essex had initially struggled – much to the dismay of their supporters – the Spitfires had started like the proverbial ‘house on fire’ winning six of their opening seven matches and seemingly on course for the last eight.
But whilst Kent, quite literally, forgot how to win in this form of the game, Essex ignited, winning four of their last five South Group matches to squeeze through by the narrowest of margins and at the Spitfires expense.
Bopara had wooed the Oval crowd 24 hours previous and once again he and Delport provided the platform – the latter using 29 balls for his notable knock, while Bopara’s unbeaten 47 came from 27.
Zak Crawley did his utmost to claw Kent back into the contest with a superb 89 – Adam Zampa eventually claiming his wicket, skipper Simon Harmer this time displaying a safe pair of hands towards the long-off boundary.
Jamie Porter took 3/28, while there were two wickets apiece for Mohammed Amir, Bopara and Zampa as Essex won by ten runs and confirmed what for so long had appeared an unlikely outcome to the group stage.
Essex now face on Lancashire at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday, September 4.
Essex Eagles: Tom Westley, Cameron Delport, Adam Wheater (WK), Dan Lawrence, Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara, Paul Walter, Simon Harmer (Capt), Mohammad Amir, Jamie Porter Adam Zampa
Kent Spitfires: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Zak Crawley, Heino Kuhn, Faf du Plessis, Sam Billings (Capt), Alex Blake, Ollie Robinson (WK), Hardus Viljoen, Imran Qayyum, Fredrick Klaassen, Mitchell Claydon
Umpires: Ian Gould and Paul Baldwin