Essex seek revenge against Sussex

ESSEX entertain Sussex tonight (start time 7pm) at the Ford County Ground as the teams lock horns in a Friends Life twenty20 fixture.

The teams met a week ago at Hove where the Eagles suffered a 32-run defeat and tonight’s encounter gives them the chance of restoring credibility with a revenge victory.

Essex all-rounder Graham Napier admitted that his side were below par on that occasion although they recovered their true form to sweep aside Gloucestershire 24 hours later.

“We were all disappointed with our performance at Hove but quickly put matters right when we beat Gloucestershire with a very convincing display,” he said.

“Now we have an opportunity to show Sussex that we are a much better side than they saw last week.

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“So far in the two twenty20 matches we’ve played, you’ve seen two totally different performances from us. At Hove, we weren’t good enough with the ball at the beginning of the Sussex innings and then we just didn’t get going in a run chase.

“So the match with Gloucestershire was all about putting things right and putting in a good display. I was given the opportunity of going up the order and it got us going despite the loss of an early wicket. Twenty20 is like that, it’s all about thinking on your feet and going with your instincts a bit. Our bowling was also much better and we started superbly getting three wickets in the first couple of overs.

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“It was great to put on such a convincing show in front of our Chelmsford crowd because there is a lot of talk about the place being ‘Fortress Chelmsford’ but it really does work for us when the crowd are behind us. It gets the players going, it gets the momentum going and we can carry that into our away games.

The Colchester-born player entered the record books back in 2008 when Essex met Sussex in the competition at Chelmsford producing a wonderful exhibition of powerful clean hitting in his 152 not out, the highest individual score in domestic t20 cricket that included a world record 16 sixes.

Memories of that innings linger fondly in the minds of spectators’ fortunate enough to be present on the night and of course in the player’s own memory.

“It was an incredible evening, whatever I tried came off,” he reflected. “I had one of those days when everything clicked but that’s twenty20 for you. To be a winning side, you don’t necessarily have to be a team of world-beaters but what you need is often just one or two players to perform outstandingly on the night and counteract anything the opposition do.”

Essex squad: M Pettini, R Bopara, O Shah, M Walker, R ten Doeschate, S Styris, J Foster (capt/wkt), G Napier, T Phillips, T Southee, C Wright, D Masters, A Wheater.

Sussex squad: L Vincent, C Nash, L Wright, M Goodwin, J Gatting, M Yardy (capt), A Hodd (wkt), R Naved-ul-Hasan, W Parnell, C Liddle, M Panesar, E Joyce, A Khan.

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