Big night for Essex in Twenty20 Cup

ANOTHER packed house is guaranteed at Chelmsford tonight when Essex take on Yorkshire in the Twenty20 Cup quarter-final (starting at 7.05 pm) with the home side favourites to make it through to finals day at Trent Bridge on Saturday, August 12.

ANOTHER packed house is guaranteed at Chelmsford tonight when Essex take on Yorkshire in the Twenty20 Cup quarter-final (starting at 7.05 pm) with the home side favourites to make it through to finals day at Trent Bridge on Saturday, August 12.

Essex have only reached the last eight stage on one previous occasion - at Grace Road in 2004 - and they were beaten by Leicestershire who went on to win the competition.

Essex will select from a squad of 13 players. Andre Adams is definitely ruled out whilst he recovers from a broken toe, whilst Graham Napier has suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem.

Andy Flower is doubtful due to a troublesome back problem but slow left-armer Tim Phillips could return to the team following his recovery from a knee strain.


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An unbeaten century from Ronnie Irani at Hove against Sussex in the final zonal match ensured his side the money-spinning home tie and the Essex captain is eagerly anticipating tonight's match.

“The match with Yorkshire has got to be one of the biggest games in my captaincy reign at Essex,” he said. “When Twenty20 cricket first started out it was a bit of a carnival but now there is also a serious feel to it and we've certainly spent a lot of time this season working out a strategy which seems to have been successful.

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“We had a blip in a couple of games at Kent and Hampshire but, apart from that, I've been delighted with our performances.”

Irani is also delighted that the county have the opportunity to play in front of the passionate Chelmsford crowd.

“There is going to be a full house and a great atmosphere, including a lot of new people to the game,” he stated. “That makes it a huge game for me as captain and one that my team is also looking forward to immensely

“We finished top of our group in Twenty20 cricket this year and I think that was a deserved position in what I thought was the hardest of all the groups.

“However, now it's all about how we perform under pressure this evening and I know that Yorkshire will come here with confidence and belief.

“They have some terrific one-day players in their line-up, Aussies Darren Lehmann and Jason Gillespie for starters, and we have to make sure that we are fully focussed.

“All our players had a rest on Sunday and now we come into this match completely fresh. These are the type of games that you dream about when you are a youngster.”

Irani will not decide on his starting line-up until late this afternoon. “It all depends on the pitch and we'll assess things at that time,” he said.

Tonight's match is a sell-out but for those with tickets the gates will open at 4pm, whilst the county also advise spectators that glass bottles and drinking vessels will not be allowed into the ground, although an alcohol limit of four cans or 75cl of wine per person is permitted.

Tonight's squads

Essex: R Irani (captain), M Pettini, D Gough, R Bopara, A Flower, G Flower, W Jefferson, J Foster, R ten Doeschate, J Middlebrook, A Bichel, J Ahmed, T Phillips.

Yorkshire: C White (captain), J Sayers, A McGrath, D Lehmann, M Lumb, A Gale, T Bresnan, G Brophy, S Patterson, J Gillespie, G Kruis, R Dawson, M Wood.

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