Three on the bounce as Essex see off sad Seaxes

Middlesex v Essex – Vitality Blast South Group – Lord’s Cricket Ground – Report

Essex 129 for four (12.4 overs)

Middlesex 63 for two (6.0 overs)

Middlesex won the toss and elected to bowl

Essex won by 16 runs (DLS method)

Essex recorded a Vitality Blast double over old adversaries Middlesex by winning a rain-affected contest at Lord’s by Duckworth/Lewis Method.

Victories over Middlesex and Glamorgan at Chelmsford suggested that Essex had turned the corner following a difficult start to their Blast campaign. Nevertheless, hosts Middlesex already appeared to be staring down the barrel. A heavy defeat at the hands of holders Somerset saw the Seaxes post their lowest-ever blast score, and the nine-wicket setback left them anchored to the bottom of the south group table with four losses from their opening five games.

Despite the intervention of the weather, this one went to form. Essex had reached 129 for four before the players were initially sent scurrying to the pavilion. Jordan Cox was unbeaten on 31 off 19 balls, while Dean Elgar (28) and Michael Pepper (23) made useful contributions. Noah Cornwell returned bowling figures of two for 29 from 2.4 overs for the home side.

When the shower finally let up, the Essex innings was deemed concluded, with Middlesex set a target of 140 from twelve overs. However, immediately on their return, the heavens again opened. Following another delay, the Seaxes target was adjusted to 80 from six.

That was always going to be a tall order, and so it proved. Max Holden did his utmost, hitting 41 from 24 balls, including five 4s and one 6.

But Holden’s efforts were in vain. Paul Walter oversaw the dismissals of skipper Stevie Eskinazi and Ryan Higgins, thanks to safe hands in the field from Elgar and Simon Harmer respectively.

The victory was Essex’s third on the bounce, lifting them into fourth place, but level on points with leaders Somerset.

Speaking after the match, Essex Head Coach Anthony McGrath, said: “It was great to get two points which could be really vital. When it comes down to a five or six-over game, it is really a lottery but I thought we did well with the bat to start with and closed the game out pretty well in those conditions.

“We just try and be brave from ball one but it is always in the back of your mind that, if you go off, Duckworth-Lewis comes into it.

“We were set for nearly 200 so I don’t think we could have gone any harder than we did – to be 66-1 after the powerplay was amazing and that set us up for the rest of the innings.

“The shorter the overs, it’s always in favour of the batting side and we had that in Finals Day last year with Hampshire, so you really do need to get off to a good start in those first two overs and Samsy set the tone with that first over

“Even though we weren’t taking wickets, we weren’t going for boundaries and the plans we had for the bowlers worked.”

Essex returns to Vitality Blast action on Friday, June 14, when they face Sussex at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford (7pm).

Middlesex: SS Eskinazi*, MK Andersson, JB Cracknell, MDE Holden, RF Higgins, JLB Davies†, LBK Hollman, TG Helm, HJH Brookes, BC Cullen, NB Cornwell

Essex: AM Rossington†, D Elgar, MS Pepper, JM Cox, PI Walter, MJJ Critchley, DR Sams, SR Harmer*, LM Benkenstein, S Snater, AP Beard

Umpires: BJ Debenham and CM Watts

Scorers: D K Shelley and P Parkinson

Match Referee: Mike Smith


Brian Jeeves