Essex batting coach Matt Walker delighted with three successive wins

ESSEX Eagles take a 14-man squad to Hove for today’s match with Sussex Sharks as the Eagles look to continue their current rich vein of form in the Friends Life t20 competition.

Victory over Surrey Lions on Friday night gave the Eagles their third win in as many nights in this year’s competition and took them into second place in the South Group section, level on points but with an inferior run-rate to today’s opponents.

Although Essex batting coach Matt Walker was delighted to see the side reel off three successive victories, he warned against complacency.

“We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us,” he said. “This is a tough group to get out of as we know. The South Group is probably the most competitive of them all.

“We’ve come up against three very good sides this week and we’ve got across the line and our overall batting performance has been acceptable.

“Everyone has contributed at some stage although we haven’t had a batsman to get a 70 or 80 to really lay a foundation at the top of the innings but sometimes it’s contributions all the way through the order that can really prove significant.

“That’s what has happened in those three matches.

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“But to get three wins out of three is brilliant and we can be proud of that but we still have yet to meet Sussex Sharks and Hampshire Royals, we’ve got Middlesex Panthers and Kent Spitfires to play again and so there are some tough matches ahead.

“We do have the luxury that we bat deep down the order as Friday night’s win over Surrey proved with Tim [Phillips] coming in at number 9 and playing so brilliantly and it just goes to show that we can win a game from most positions.”

“It’s always nice to win but it would be nice to have a straight-forward victory at some stage but that’s Twenty20 cricket for you. Winning close games does give you mental belief and we go into Sunday’s game with confidence.”

Owais Shah is likely to be on the sidelines for two weeks after suffering a calf strain but there are no other injury worries ahead of today’s match which starts at 2.40pm.

Essex squad: J Foster (capt/wkt), M Pettini, J Franklin, T Westley, G Smith, R ten Doeschate, G Napier, T Phillips, A Wheater, M Comber, D Masters, T Mills, M Chambers, R Topley.

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