Ravi Bopara and Dan Lawrence lead Essex to T20 Blast thrashing of Hampshire

Ravi Bopara was in fine form for Essex. Picture: ARCHANT

Ravi Bopara was in fine form for Essex. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Ravi Bopara took four for 19 in a parsimonious four-over spell, which coupled with Dan Lawrence’s NatWest T20 Blast best of 47 helped Essex thrash top-of-the-table Hampshire to climb off the bottom with 36 balls to spare.

Bopara’s haul took his total this season in the shortest format to nine wickets at 19.33 each. He was supported by an attack who all – bar the unfortunate Simon Harmer – went for less than 6.25 an over. Paul Walter continued to show his enormous promise with figures of two for 20 from his four overs.

Hampshire managed just nine fours and a six in their wholly inadequate 129 for nine; the last boundary came halfway through the seventh over.

Essex were not inconvenienced by the absence through illness of Tom Westley, who had been called up by England on Thursday for next week’s third Test against South Africa.

Lawrence slotted comfortably into Westley’s No3 position while Adam Wheater filled the vacant opener’s spot and finished with pugnacious unbeaten 44 from 32 balls and six fours.

But Essex’s reply got off to a disappointing start when Chopra chased one outside off-stump from Abbott and was caught behind for two. Wheater and Dan Lawrence retaliated as Abbott’s remaining five balls of the over went for 17 runs, with both batsmen hitting the South African straight to the boundary.

Lawrence greeted the arrival of Berg with a ramp-shot for four followed by a more orthodox cover-drive for a second boundary. He tried a reverse-sweep unsuccessfully in Berg’s next over before cutting the bowler for another four. He sent another reverse-sweep off Crane for four and hit the next ball straight for six.

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Lawrence’s 33-ball innings ended when he gave Afridi a return catch. He had hit seven fours as well as that six. Zaidi launched Afridi for two sixes over midwicket as Essex raced past the 100 mark in the 12th over. But with a dozen runs required, Zaidi got an outside edge to lob up a catch off Berg to Roussow at point for 17.

It was left to Bopara to finish it with a six over deep extra cover off a free hit from Berg with plenty to spare.

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