Irani delight after Essex clinch league

SKIPPER Ronnie Irani was delighted after his Essex Eagles side retained the one-day league title despite losing by six wickets at Chester-le-Street to Durham, who were relegated from NatWest Pro40 Division One.

SKIPPER Ronnie Irani was delighted after his Essex Eagles side retained the one-day league title despite losing by six wickets at Chester-le-Street to Durham, who were relegated from NatWest Pro40 Division One.

The Eagles ended up cheering as Sussex failed to take advantage of their slip, while Durham needed both Lancashire and Middlesex to lose if they were to have any chance of survival. Lancashire beat Glamorgan by 109 runs.

Durham promoted Phil Mustard to open and he contributed his best one-day score of 84 off 86 balls to an opening stand of 152 with Jimmy Maher.

After they departed in the 29th and 30th overs Durham made heavy weather of it, Gary Scott finally pulling the winning six with six balls to spare.


You may also want to watch:


Irani's decision to bat looked flawed when Essex slipped to 12 for three and they were indebted to Andy Flower, with 81 off 96 balls, for their total of 201 for eight.

Irani also suffered a couple of embarrassing fielding lapses, although the NatWest logo on the outfield in the televised match contributed to one of them.

Most Read

He was in happy mood at the end, however, after receiving the trophy from England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier.

“Durham outplayed us today, but we have a fantastic one-day side,” he said. “We have great variation all round, we field well and I'm very proud of my team.

“The ball seemed to follow me around in the field and I was a bit gutted, but it's going to feel good tonight.”

The only man missing from the Essex attack was Darren Gough - who was part of the Sky commentary team - but the other seamers were put to the sword by Durham's left-handed openers, who had 35 on the board after five overs.

Mustard's 50 came off 41 balls and Maher's off 67, but the wicketkeeper's onslaught was checked by left-arm spinner Tim Phillips and after hitting 11 fours and two sixes he drove off-spinner James Middlebrook to long off.

Two wickets for Graham Onions had Essex on the rack, but in the 10th over Flower hit him for two fours and a pulled six.

The Zimbabwean left-hander then concentrated on holding the innings together and while he skilfully kept the scoreboard moving he did not hit another boundary until the last ball of the 39th over. Two balls later he hoisted a catch to deep mid-wicket.

Andre Adams, promoted to No. 6, thrashed 40 off 29 balls and James Foster contributed a run-a-ball 32, while Neil Killeen was the pick of the Durham bowlers with two for 22.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus