Simon Harmer the hero as Essex win a Royal London Cup thriller against Surrey
- Credit: PA
Tail-ender Simon Harmer hit an unbeaten 44 including the winning boundary to steer Essex to a thrilling one-wicket win over Surrey in a low-scoring Royal London One Day Cup clash at the Kia Oval.
Harmer, who has five Test caps for South Africa to his name, saw his side over the line in the final over to inflict a second defeat on Surrey – last season’s beaten finalists.
In pursuit of 211 at an attractive asking rate of 4.22 an over, the Eagles lost Nick Browne and both opening batsmen inside seven overs. Browne (4) wafted outside off against Sam Curran to be caught by a tumbling Ben Foakes, Alastair Cook (5) was pinned on the back foot by a Sam Curran off-cutter to go lbw, then Varun Chopra (1) feathered to slip against Jade Dernbach to make it 12 for three.
Under leaden skies and with the floodlights on, the visitors regathered composure through Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara in a stand of 66 that ended when Westley (34) top edged a Dernbach bouncer to mid-wicket.
Bopara (39) undid his good early work by driving without moving his feet against Dernbach to gift Foakes another catch, while Adam Wheater chopped on against Ravi Rampaul to leave Surrey scenting blood.
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With 83 still needed, Ashar Zaidi suffered a rush of blood to the head by dancing down the pitch against Gareth Batty only to chip to mid-off but visiting skipper Ryan ten Doeschate (45) showed all his IPL experience to add a crucial 51 before edging a leg-glance against Batty into the gloves of Foakes.
Harmer and Neil Wagner came together with 32 required, a deficit they halved before Dernbach, with another fierce, throat-high bouncer, bagged his fourth wicket to have Wagner caught on the hook at deep square.
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With four required off Sam Curran’s final over, Harmer sealed it by sweeping a low full-toss for four to backward square with four balls to spare. Harmer finishing unbeaten on 44, his best in List A cricket as Essex landed their second win in as many starts.
He said: “It was a great day. Cricket is a performance based industry and some times you have good days and others can go against you. “Today was a good day and I’m glad that we got the win.”