Essex are well beaten by Surrey at the Oval in t20 clash
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Aaron Finch, Ben Foakes and Rikki Clarke led a Surrey run glut at a packed Kia Oval as the home side saw off Essex Eagles in impressive fashion to record their first Vitality Blast win of the south group campaign at the third attempt.
Surrey’s 222 for 4 was just two runs short of their record T20 total, made against Gloucestershire at Bristol twelve years ago, and only Varun Chopra with a 46-ball 67 threatened for long as Essex were held to 183 for 7 in reply despite a spirited start to lose by 39 runs. For Essex it was a second defeat from three games.
Essex’s chase floundered when Tom Westley (23) and Ravi Bopara (2) both fell to Gareth Batty’s off spin in a 12th over costing just three runs. And that followed a superb 11th over by Clarke, in which Essex could also manage only three and, suddenly, from 100 for 1 off ten, they were 106 for 3 off 12 – with a required run rate soaring to 15 runs per over – and never recovered.
Ryan ten Doeschate, after hoisting Batty for six, edged his next ball to keeper Foakes to go for 10 and the 40-year old former Surrey captain finished with figures of 3 for 36 from his four overs. By the time opener Chopra was run out attempting a second run in the 17th over, having hit two sixes and five fours, Surrey were all but assured of victory.
Finch, the world’s No 1 ranked T20 batsman, thumped 58 from 33 balls with four sixes and five fours on his return to Surrey from international duty, and although his fellow Australian Nic Maddinson could not mark his debut with a score of note there was still more than enough spectacular strokeplay to entertain another near-25,000 capacity floodlit crowd revelling in the balmy evening temperatures.
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Foakes contributed 56 from 35 balls, with two sixes and five fours, and added 86 in 7.4 overs for the third wicket with Finch. But the most explosive knocks came from Clarke and Pope, who came together when Foakes fell at 154 for 4 in the 16th over, and took 25 runs from a ragged nine-ball 18th over, bowled by Matt Coles, that featured two no balls, one of which was hit for four, a wide and two Clarke sixes.
Clarke thumped four legside sixes overall in his violent 20-ball 48 not out, while Pope’s unbeaten 31 from 20 balls featured four fours, two of them extraordinary reverse flicks to third man off Sam Cook at the start of the final over.
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Surrey were out of the blocks quickly, after they had chosen to bat first, with Finch and Rory Burns taking 28 from the two opening overs, bowled by Jamie Porter and Cook.
Burns began by pulling the first and fourth balls of the match for four, before deftly deflecting the last ball of Porter’s initial over to third man for another boundary. Finch pulled his third ball, from Cook, for six besides plundering two fours in an over costing 16.
Coles, brought on for the third over, struck immediately when Burns pulled his first ball straight to deep mid wicket, slowing Surrey for a short while, and Maddinson had made only 3 when the left-hander was tucked up by Porter and could only mishit an attempted lofted drive to mid off.
But Coles was hit twice for six by Finch in his second over and the final powerplay over, the sixth of the innings, cost Porter 20 runs as Foakes clubbed a six and three fours – the first a beautiful, authentic off drive just past the bowler’s left hand – to take Surrey to 67 for two.
Finch, dropped off Porter on 16 after a juggle by Coles at deep square leg, continued to take the attack to the Essex bowlers and there was a fourth six, muscled over long off against Simon Harmer’s off breaks, before he skied Australian leg spinner Adam Zampa to be caught and bowled in the 12th over.
Zampa was by far the pick of Essex’s bowlers, conceding just 20 runs from his four overs and also adding Foakes’ wicket when he smeared a catch into the deep. The rest of the Eagles’ bowling figures made for grim reading, however, with Coles, Bopara and Cook all bearing the brunt of the ferocious late onslaught in which Clarke and Pope took 52 from the last three overs in an unbroken stand worth 68 in a mere 4.4 overs.
Essex were actually ahead of Surrey after six overs, at 68 for 1, and Jade Dernbach’s team were only four runs better off than their opponents at the halfway mark, but the final margin of Surrey’s victory told the story of their overall superiority with both bat and ball. Seamer Mat Pillans picked up late Essex wickets to end with 3 for 34.