Essex tie with Hampshire in thrilling t20 clash
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Essex (170-7) tied with Hampshire (170-5)
Ravi Bopara was run out from the last ball and the Vitality Blast match at Chelmsford ended in a tie on Saturday night.
Needing two run to win, Bopara failed to beat Colin Munro’s throw from square leg, though umpire Jeffrey Evans had to go to the TV umpire to confirm the decision.
Bopara had hit 39 from 36 balls to take Essex within a whisker of only their second T20 victory of the season.
Dan Lawrence had laid the foundation for the chase after 171 with the highest T20 score of his career. His 49 came off 36 balls with four fours and a six.
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Chris Wood kept Essex in check until the late fireworks with three for 27 from his four overs, but it was not enough.
Sam Northeast finished with an unbeaten 73 from 50 balls that included four sixes as Hampshire posted 170 for five. It was a comparatively pedestrian innings compared to the 38 from 17 balls, three of them sixes, by New Zealand opener Colin Munro that looked as if it would set the tempo for a huge Hampshire total.
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That they could amass only 170 for five after opting to bat was due to an Essex attack who, bar two overs from Matt Quinn that went for 27 and 19, kept a tight rein. Indeed, four of Essex’s six bowlers went for less than seven and a half an over, impressive for T20 cricket.
Adam Zampa’s two for 30 was only spoilt by some late hitting by Northeast. Fellow spinner Simon Harmer took one for 21 from his four overs, and Ravi Bopara conceded 19 from his three.
Essex openers Adam Wheater and Varun Chopra had compiled opening stands of more than 50 in three of the five previous games this season, another of 48, but they had put on just four when Chopra fell to Ryan Stevenson’s first ball, a short delivery, and was caught behind.
Wheater bookended Fidel Edwards’s opening over with sixes over midwicket before he was the second of two wickets in four balls when he charged spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s first delivery and was stumped for a 14-ball 22. Tom Westley had just beaten him back to the pavilion courtesy of an inside edge to a straight one from Wood for nine.
Ryan ten Doesechate and Lawrence steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket stand of 44 in five overs that included a big six over long-leg by the captain. But ten Doeschate perished when he top-edged Fidel Edwards to Liam Dawson on his knees at wide mid-on.
Lawrence showed his range of shots with a straight four off Dawson followed by a clip to third man next ball for another boundary. Bopara, moving beyond single figures for the first time this season, helped take the target to 60 from 30 balls.
Lawrence passed his previous highest score in the competition with an effortless pick-up over square leg for six off Edwards to take him to 48. But he attempted to reach his first half-century in style, but only hit Wood flattish to Munro on the long-off fence.
Suddenly the asking rate was 41 from three. Harmer helped it along with a reverse sweep six off Rahman and Bopara added a second in the over midwicket. But with 27 required from 12 balls, Harmer went lbw to Wood. Neil Wagner hit Wood straight for six followed by a four to make it 13 from the last over.
Bopara hit the first ball from Stevenson for a straight six with James Vince falling awkwardly and twisting his ankle in an attempt to make the catch. A single gave Wagner the batting, but he went to the third ball when caught on the boundary by Dawson. Bopara refused a run from ball No4 but thumped the fifth through the covers for four. Two needed from the last ball – and the dramatic conclusion.
Hampshire had started their innings slowly, but the loss of James Vince for one to a skier at mid-on only inspired Munro to take charge. Northeast finished off Jamie Porter’s second over with a six over midwicket, and then the New Zealander showed anything Northeast could do, he could do better.
Munro followed with sixes off the first two deliveries from Quinn in an over that went for 27 and included a third six over midwicket plus a free-hit that was expertly caught by ten Doeschate, albeit in vain.
Zampa was unfortunate that two successive misfields on the bumpy outfield went to the boundary, but hit back he bowled Munro playing a reverse sweep. Hampshire had reached 53 in the fifth over, but three wickets in 18 balls put the brakes on sharply.
Rilee Rossouw was Zampa’s second victim with a nick behind and Tom Alsop went for an ill-advised reverse sweep and was lbw to Harmer. Hampshire had slumped to 70 for four and added only 33 runs in eight middle overs. Indeed, such was their sluggish scoring that the fifth-wicket partnership between Northeast and Liam Dawson needed 50 balls to reach fifty.
However, Northeast saw off Zampa’s final two balls with sixes to cow corner that also brought up a personal 41-ball half-century. Wagner broke the 71-run stand when Dawson hit him high to wide mid-on where Lawrence – despite reacting slowly – took it on the move over his shoulder. Dawson’s 32 had been at a run a ball.