Essex completed the Friends Life t20 Finals Day line-up with a 47-run win in a slightly fractious encounter at Trent Bridge. Ryan ten Doeschate starred with the bat, hitting a brilliant 44-ball 82 before Shaun Tait and David Masters excelled with the ball.
Nottinghamshire's pursuit of their daunting target of 188 began promisingly as England’s T20 openers Michael Lumb and Alex Hales blazed 42 off the first three overs to put their team in front. Lumb was dropped at slip first ball by Mark Pettini, but recovered to play second fiddle to Hales in the brutal opening stand. However, Masters (3-26) struck three crucial blows, having Hales, Lumb and James Taylor caught in successive overs.
Taylor had survived a contentious caught behind appeal shortly before his eventual dismissal. Essex were adamant that he had edged through to James Foster but umpire Nigel Llong gave him not out and had to reprimand Ravi Bopara for his colourful language.
After that, it was over to David Hussey and Riki Wessels to rebuild with a fifth-wicket partnership of 63. Unfortunately, the pair were unable to keep pace with the required run rate as Reece Topley again impressed, delivering three overs at a cost of only 12 runs. Both perished trying to score the 70 runs needed from the final five overs.
Wessels was caught spectacularly on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Bopara and Tim Phillips. The former caught the ball before flicking it back as he overbalanced and fell over the boundary rope. Replays showed that he had done a good job, but the crowd weren’t convinced and the resulting booing added extra spice to the occasion.
Hussey had been dropped earlier in the over by Phillips, but that mistake wasn’t to prove too costly as Shaun Tait was brought back into the attack and ended things in a hurry. He ended Hussey’s magnificent innings at 61 off 37 balls by having him caught by Ryan ten Doeschate. Hussey had played the ultimate T20 innings, biding his time while scoring at a good rate before launching the final onslaught. Unfortunately, on this occasion, there was just too much for him to do.
Tait (4-29) followed up the wicket of Hussey with the ones of Ian Butler and Graeme White to become the first Essex bowler to take a hat-trick in T20 cricket. Graham Napier then bounced back from his earlier mauling at the hands of Hales to deliver a searing yorker to rearrange last-man Harry Gurney’s stumps and end the Outlaws' challenge at 140.
Ten Doeschate was named man of the match and had helped the Eagles remain in the contest after they had threatened to slip into oblivion by losing three wickets in the first six overs. Ian Butler was the pick of the Nottinghamshire bowlers with figures of three for 23, but Bopara (38 off 25 balls) and ten Doeschate added 72 in seven overs to lead Essex to 187 for six. The home side’s spinner came in for a particular hiding, with Samit Patel and Graeme White returning combined figures of 8-0-98-0.
The semi-final draw was made shortly after the match, with winners Essex drawn against Northamptonshire and defending champions Hampshire set to play Surrey.
Tour Match, Yorkshire v Bangladesh A at Headingley (1045 BST start)
The hosts have predictably chosen to rest many of their senior players, although Andrew Gale will still skipper the side. Among the youngsters included are batsman Jack Leaning and seam-bowler Ben Coad. Oliver Robinson, an all-rounder who has been trialling for the second-team, makes his maiden appearance in a first-team squad.
Yorkshire squad: Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Andrew Gale (captain), Adam Lyth, Dan Hodgson, Richard Pyrah, Azeem Rafiq, Liam Plunkett, Ryan Gibson, Iain Wardlaw, Moin Ashraf, Ben Coad, Oliver Robinson.
The tourists have a 15-man squad that is packed with international players. The vast majority of have experience with the senior-team, with the likes of Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Jahurul Islam and Mominul Haque almost classed as regulars.
Bangladesh A squad: Jahurul Islam (captain), Al-Amin Hossain, Elias Sunny, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Robiul Islam, Shamsur Rahman, Ziaur Rahman, Naeem Islam, Anamul Haque, Farhad Reza, Marshall Ayub, Raqibul Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Sohag Gazi.
Weather Forecast: It will be mostly sunny in Leeds tomorrow following an overcast start, with only patchy cloud expected and highs of around 19 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Luke Wright will captain the England Lions in their three-match series against Bangladesh A later this month. Wright has been rewarded for a good season thus far for Sussex, with Michael Carberry similarly rewarded after shining for Hampshire. Somerset fast-bowler Jamie Overton, Northamptonshire all-rounder David Willey and Sussex all-rounder Chris Jordan all received their maiden call-ups. Gary Ballance is also included despite LV= County Championship leaders Yorkshire arguing that he would learn more from playing for them against Nottinghamshire. More
Hampshire opener Michael Carberry has told BBC Radio Solent that he would be interested in playing in the IPL if an offer came his way. The 32 year-old has been in prolific form in this year’s Friends Life t20, culminating in an unbeaten century against Lancashire last night, and said, “I would love the opportunity, it looks a fantastic tournament. You are playing against the world’s best and for somebody like me, who didn’t have the opportunity internationally, it’s the next best thing.”
Leicestershire have signed a sponsorship deal with Woods Coaches, which will see them travel to away games in 2013 and 2014 in their top-of-the-range VIP coach. The club have also announced that commercial manager Ian Davidson will be leaving at the end of the season by mutual consent.
Former South Africa, Kent and current Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford is favourite to become Surrey’s new team director according to The Guardian. Alec Stewart has been in charge on an interim basis since Chris Adams was sacked in June.
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