Match preview | Sussex Sharks v Essex Eagles
Anthony McGrath was glowing in his praise for his side after their stunning 9 wicket success against Glamorgan in the Royal London One-Day Cup on Wednesday.
27 Ryan ten Doeschate (C)
25 Ravi Bopara
6 Varun Chopra
1 Matt Coles
16 Sam Cook
11 Simon Harmer
28 Dan Lawrence
44 Jamie Porter
29 Shane Snater
13 Neil Wagner
21 Tom Westley
31 Adam Wheater (WK)
99 Ashar Zaidi
“That’s the best we’ve played all round in this competition this season, to win with more than 18 overs to spare is a fantastic victory, ” the Essex Head Coach purred.
“Jamie Porter came back into the side after enjoying a rest and he showed the benefit by bowling really well,” he continued. “Sam Cook again caught the eye with his bowling whilst Matt Coles made his first appearance for us in the competition and really impressed. We have had to be patient with him while he was recovering from injury but I thought he put in a terrific performance. It’s great to have him around the place; we saw the quality of the man with his bowling and we are looking forward to many more performances like that.
“Then Varun (Chopra) and Adam (Wheater) played superbly in chasing the runs. We know that their opening partnership can often be dynamic and can really hurt teams and they showed that against Glamorgan. The pair of them have done really well for us at the top of the order and have usually got us on the front foot after 10 overs although we haven’t always been able to back up their good work. So it was nice for them to have played a significant part in our victory.”
The openers posted 189 of the 201 runs required but both were to be denied deserved centuries. Wheater hit 88 (his highest List A score for Essex) before being stumped, whilst Chopra was left unbeaten when just two runs short of his second List A century in three innings.
Chopra’s 84-ball innings, with nine fours and four sixes, took his season’s tally to 445 runs @ 89.00.
Jamie Porter returned career-best List A figures of 4 for 29 including the prized wicket of Colin Ingram, who had recorded three successive centuries against the Eagles in the competition.
That result took the Eagles into third place in the South Group but run-rate is all that separates 6 teams locked on six points in a tightly contested section. McGrath knows that his side will need to win their remaining two matches if they are to have a chance of reaching the knockout stages.
They meet Sussex Sharks at The Saffrons, Eastbourne on Sunday and complete their schedule of Group qualifying matches when they entertain Kent Spitfires at Chelmsford next Wednesday.
“These two matches are Cup Finals really and for me, it’s about getting consistency in our performance,” he stated. “If we do that, the results will take care of themselves. We’ll go into the match against Sussex with the confidence we got from beating Glamorgan and the template we used and if we reproduce that on Sunday, I think we’ll be absolutely fine.”