t20 Finals Day: Essex Eagles lose to Northants Steelbacks by seven wickets

Reece Topley

Reece Topley

Essex Eagles lost out at the semi-final stage of the Friends Life t20 Finals Day, going down by seven wickets to Northants, at Edgbaston.

Essex were put into bat and made a total of 168 for five but the Steelbacks chased down that total, the highest-ever successful run chase in the history of Finals Day, posting 171 for three.

The Eagles may feel a little disappointed with their final total, despite exceeding the par score for the pitch at Edgbaston this season, and they were helped by a late flurry from Graham Napier (38 no) and skipper James Foster (32 no).

Despite their total, and a good start from Richard Levi who knocked 57 off 37 balls in opening for Northants, Essex seemed to be wrestling the initiative away from Northants, thanks to some tight bowling from Ipswich’s Reece Topley and Sahun Tait.

Ipswich-born Topley took Levi’s wicket, Ravi Bopara taking a catch at mid-off, and that of Kyle Coetzer (18) and, after Alex Wakely was caught and bowled by David Masters, the win seemed on.

Enter Cameron White and Steven Crook, the pair putting on a fourth-wicket partnership of 78 off just 36 balls, in 21 minutes, complimenting a first-wicket stand between Levi and Coetzer which yielded 74 runs off 50 balls.

Crook finished the Eagles off with a four to put Northants into the final against either Surrey or Hampshire Royals.

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Read Chris Brammer’s verdict and report of Finals Day in Monday’s East Anglian Daily Times.

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