Alastair Cook posts century as Essex defeat Gloucestershire in Royal London Cup
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Alastair Cook served up his tenth career List A century to guide Essex to their third win in three Royal London Cup matches this season, this time against Gloucestershire.
Cook paced his innings before accelerating from the halfway point to reach 127 as Essex posted a formidable 315 for eight from their 50 overs. He faced 134 balls and hit 12 fours.
Cook shared partnerships of 82 with Nick Browne (42) for the first wicket, 99 with Varun Chopra (41) for the third and 57 in six overs with Ravi Bopara (37) for the fourth. Bopara marked his 32nd birthday with a 23-ball cameo during which he passed 9,000 career List A runs.
As Essex chased late runs to pass 300, left-arm seamer Chris Liddle came back to claim three wickets in his last 20 deliveries to finish with four for 54.
Gloucestershire’s target started at nearly six and a half an over and had hit 10 with 10 overs to go. But Phil Mustard (90) and Ian Cockbain (79) traded big hits in a third-wicket stand of 95 in 15 overs before the wicketkeeper departed after slamming seven fours and two sixes. Jack Taylor also joined the party with a six in his 25-ball 34, but a late collapsed left Gloucestershire 29 runs short.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate lavished praise on Cook and all-rounder Bopara.
He said: “Cookie showed he has got some gears as well. He was nearly a run a ball at the end. As an opener his innings was near perfect. We always thought 315 was a very good score.”
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On Bopara, who also took three wickets for 34. Ten Doeschate said: “Playing with two out-and-out seamers, his role is crucial. He is going to bowl 10 overs almost all the time and so far he has been brilliant. He is a very clever bowler and handy at picking up wickets, especially when players are going after him at the end. He seems to have a knack of picking up crucial wickets and stemming the flow.
“I’m delighted with the way his white-ball stuff is going at the minute. He is a very important member of the team.”
Ten Doeschate added: “We’re playing nicely in a lot of phases of the games, but I still don’t think we’ve hit our best. But to get three wins in the first three games in an eight-game competition is a great effort. We’ve given ourselves a chance to qualify.”