Jamie Porter stars as Essex beat Gloucestershire in T20 Blast
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Jamie Porter’s career-best return of 4-20 propelled Essex to a three-wicket victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol and revived their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast.
Requiring victory to move back into the top four in the South Group, Gloucestershire posted a below-par 121-8, their lowest total of the season in the short format.
Varun Chopra top-scored with 44, smashing 5 fours and 3 sixes during the power-play, as Essex reached their target with 3.4 overs to spare.
Porter, a 24-year-old right-arm seamer, opened his account in style, inducing Gloucestershire talisman Michael Klinger to hole out to Paul Walter at deep square leg for nine. He then returned to the attack in the 12th over to inflict further damage on Gloucestershire’s middle order, removing Ian Cockbain, Jack Taylor and Kieran Noema-Barnett in rapid succession.
Back in the side as one of Gloucestershire’s two permitted overseas players, Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft added 49 for the third wicket with Cockbain, only to blot his copybook by chopping a short delivery from Walter onto his stumps after contributing 23 at a run a ball.
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Once Porter had wreaked havoc on the middle order, Gloucestershire were heavily dependent upon all-rounder Benny Howell, who represented their last realistic prospect of posting a challenging total.
One of only four batsmen to clear the boundary, Howell made 20 before falling lbw to Pakistani paceman Mohammad Amir, who had earlier bowled veteran campaigner Phil Mustard.
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In no mood to hang about, Chopra plundered 24 runs off one Matt Taylor over as Essex raised 58-2 from the power-play to stamp their authority.
His violent 20-ball innings was terminated by a Chris Liddle yorker, while slow left-armer Tom Smith removed Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster inside two overs to offer Gloucestershire renewed hope. But it was snuffed out by Walter, who batted with an assurance that belied his status as a lower-order batsman to see Essex home.