Irani out to make amends at Hove

ESSEX have an early opportunity to cast aside the bitter experience of their Twenty20 Cup semi-final exit when they play Sussex at Hove this evening in the Pro40 competition.

ESSEX have an early opportunity to cast aside the bitter experience of their Twenty20 Cup semi-final exit when they play Sussex at Hove this evening in the Pro40 competition.

Essex have won two of their three matches, with rain washing out the game with Glamorgan, whilst Sussex boast a 100% record, having prevailed in their two matches thus far.

The two counties have already met this season, with Essex shading the honours. Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy finalists Sussex beat Essex in their zonal match in a high-scoring match at Chelmsford after Ronnie Irani had smashed an unbeaten 132 from 143 balls, with 14 boundaries that included three sixes, to carry his bat through the 50 overs.

Chasing a formidable 297 for victory, the visitors reached their target with seven deliveries and five wickets to spare thanks to Murray Goodwin, who topped the Essex captain's efforts with 158 not out, having faced 151 balls.


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The Twenty20 provided Essex with their two victories over their South Coast rivals. In the first meeting, Andy Bichel took 4-23 to underpin the victory by 87 runs, whilst the contest at Hove saw Essex gain a vital win. It was Irani who again plundered the opposition attack with another magnificent effort, reaching 100 not out from the final scheduled delivery of the match to book a home quarter-final tie.

Now he is looking forward to the chance of an incredible hat-trick of hundreds.

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“We are so disappointed with the outcome of the Twenty20, we just weren't at the races and everyone was very down on Saturday,” he admitted. “We need to get that feeling out of our system and it's good that we have another important game so soon afterwards and, having had ended our interest in one limited-overs competition, it's vital that we don't suffer another upset. Hopefully, I can do well at the top of the order and get our innings off to a solid start.”

Although batsman Alastair Cook was given permission by the England selectors to play in the Twenty20 finals, he is not expected to be available for this match (start 4.40pm).

The teams

Sussex (from): C Adams (captain), R Montgomerie, M Prior, O Rayner, M Goodwin, M Yardy, C Hopkinson, Y Arafat, R Martin-Jenkins, L Wright, R Kirtley, C Nash.

Essex (from): R Irani (captain), M Pettini, D Gough, R Bopara, A Flower, G Flower, R ten Doeschate, J Foster, J Middlebrook, G Napier, A Bichel, T Phillips, W Jefferson.

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