Vitality Blast: Lawrence & Walter fire Eagles to their highest Blast total against Glamorgan
Dan Lawrence and Paul Walter’s sensational hitting fired Essex Eagles to their highest Vitality Blast total as they kept their home quarter-final dreams alive.
Essex vs Glamorgan, South Group, Vitality Blast
Essex 254/5 (20 ov)
Glamorgan 185/7 (20 ov)
Result - Essex won by 69 runs
Lawrence thrashed 71 off 37 balls, Walter a blistering 23-ball 58 and Adam Rossington a booming 45 to take the Eagles to 254 – beating the 244 set barely two weeks ago.
Glamorgan reached 185 for seven in reply, with stand-in captain Sam Northeast pumping an unbeaten 97, to lose by 69 runs.
2019 winners Essex, who had already confirmed a knockout spot, moved to second in the South Group and will host a last-eight match if Surrey beat Somerset on Sunday.
Essex were put in and blasted it from ball one on a belting wicket with short boundaries. Robin Das struck the first of 16 sixes in the third over by pinging over long-off before following it up with a second over deep midwicket with the next ball.
Das pulled another ball to the boundary before he skied to cover to give Jamie McIlroy his first T20 wicket on debut, he would later pick up Lawrence to claim an impressive two for 32 – the only bowler to go at under 10s.
Adam Rossington skipped his way to 45, having scored 95 the previous evening, with seven boundaries and a six off 23 balls. But his quick scoring was just the prelude for what was to come.
Michael Pepper was caught on the reverse and Rossington holed to long-on before Lawrence and Walter went ballistic with their 101-run partnership off 69 balls, although there was an 18-ball gap between boundaries at one point.
Douthwaite took the biggest tap going for 12 and 13 in successive overs as he returned the fourth-worst bowling figures in Blast history, eventually going for 66 in four wicketless overs.
But the showpiece over for Essex was the 31 taken off Prem Sisodiya. Walter started off with four sixes over the long square boundary, and thrice straight before scrapping a single, before Lawrence completed the over with another swinging maximum.
It started a final five overs where 95 runs were plundered. Walter fell for a 23-ball 58 – which had included rope clearers – but Daniel Sams picked up where he had left off with three sixes in his first four balls.
Lawrence had been 18 off his first 20 balls but caught up in style to reach his 11th T20 half-century in 30 balls before eventually clothing to long off for 71. 15 came off the final over as Eagles crashed the joint fourth-best total in the tournament’s history.
Glamorgan never looked like replicating their greatest chase of 224 – against Essex in 2017 – with three wickets falling in the powerplay.
Aaron Beard was the chief destroyer as he picked up two for 16 in his first 16 overs with debutant Tom Bevan top-edging to deep third and Billy Root seeing his three stumps become leg-less. Sams had Colin Ingram flicking to deep square leg.
Eddie Byrom and Chris Cooke were both caught, but Sam Northeast, skippering his third Blast side for the first time, stuck around and plundered a couple sixes of his own on his way to a 38 ball fifty – his third in T20s against Essex.
Dan Douthwaite chipped in with 34 off 17 in a 62-run stand but had his stump broken by Sams. As the required rate broke the impossible 36 mark, Andrew Salter and Northeast started to have fun with 16 runs coming from three successive overs.
Salter holed out but Northeast ended his campaign needing a boundary for a second Blast century but could only bunt a single.
Essex captain Simon Harmer:
"That was unbelievable. I don't think we could have asked for anything more. We knew the boundaries were going to be small but we showed our class about the way we went about it versus the Glamorgan innings. Hats off to our batters they set the game up perfectly for us.
"The brand of T20 we are trying to play we know we might get it wrong on occasion and get bowled out for not many but we are striving for nights like this. Every came together and momentum in T20 cricket is a funny thing; when it is on your side anything is possible.
"I am extremely proud of the way the boys played but this is the blueprint for us.
"We have done everything we possibly can to get a home quarter-final. Whether we get one or not is down to how we started the tournament but momentum is massive for us and coming off four straight wins is massive for us and will give us a lot of confidence."
Essex batter Dan Lawrence:
"It was a bit of a struggle for the first 18 to 20 balls and I was in a situation where I was either hitting out of getting out and thankfully it went my way.
"It was difficult to miss game [due to a hamstring injury], but it is one of those things and hopefully it doesn't pop again.
"I think the size of the boundaries were very inviting to any batter who walked in. The wickets here for T20s are usually very good so it was nice that a couple of half hits got over the ropes.
"We are pretty confident. We have had a couple of great additions into our T20 side this year and it feels like we have all bases covered. If we keep on playing this brand of cricket we will be all right."
Glamorgan captain and batter Sam Northeast:
"I don't really know what I was thinking off the final ball. I thought he was going to go wide again and I had another swing but it wasn't to be.
"It was one of those nights were it was pretty brutal for quite a bit of it. Essex played really well but we will take a lot out of that.
"[What to do about Essex scoring] It is all about clarity and sticking to that plan if they believe in it and then knowing the difference between a bad plan and a bad execution. When they are missing by fractions and it is going out the park it is tough and you aren't getting much back. I had to keen backing them and make sure that they know it is a good ball that disappeared.
"The England team have set the bar high and young players coming into the game are pushing us to get better. We now think that 250 is not far now, it is very gettable. The bar is being raised every year."
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