Centuries from Bopara and Lawrence fire Essex into quarter-finals
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Essex Eagles (337-7) beat Kent Spitfires (184) by 153 runs Ravi Bopara and Dan Lawrence smashed centuries to set Essex Eagles up for a home quarter-final tie in the Royal London Cup with a comfortable victory over Kent Spitfires at Chelmsford.
Bopara’s 125 took 88 balls and included 11 fours and six sixes, while Lawrence, surpassing his previous highest List A score by 79 runs, finished on 115 from 109 balls with seven fours and three sixes.
Kent had won five games in a row to qualify for the knockout stages, but defeat at Chelmsford enabled Essex to climb above them on run-rate. They were always off the pace in their chase and suffered the ignominy of former player Matt Coles taking two key wickets, including Kent captain Sam Billings to the first ball he bowled. Jamie Porter claimed four wickets for his second match.
Lawrence and Bopara grafted to their first 50 partnership from 10 overs, with Lawrence passing his top List A score of 37 at the same time. It marked the point that the shackles came off. Lawrence hit Henry for a straight six to reach his half-century. He then posted the 100 stand from 17 overs with the first of successive straight sixes off Denly.
A lofted sweep for his sixth four brought up Bopara’s fifth 50 in the Royal London Cup this summer. It had taken 57 balls. Lawrence turned Haggett into the onside for the single that took him to a 99-ball century, his second 50 taking 42 balls.
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The 150 partnership came up in 23 overs, followed by a mighty pull for six by Bopara. However, Lawrence went for one big hit too many and found Heino Kuhn at deep extra cover.
Ryan Ten Doeschate went in similar fashion, miscuing Haggett before Bopara hit the bowler for successive sixes over long-off and long-on. His century, reached with a push into the legside, came from 80 balls.
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Bopara would go on to smash successive sixes, one straight and out of the ground, the other beating Qayyum on the rope.
Zaidi went to Sean Dickson’s catch on the boundary before another six, from a full-toss by Claydon, prefaced Bopara’s departure, caught in the deep by Kuhn. But the damage was done, and Kent couldn’t get close.