Tom Westley smacks 93 to lead Essex to win over Hampshire in Royal London Cup

Tom Westley led Essex with 93

Tom Westley led Essex with 93 - Credit: PA

Tom Westley’s hard-hitting 93 off 98 balls helped set up Essex’s 25-run victory over Hampshire in their first Royal London Cup match of the season.

Westley shared partnerships of 103 with Alastair Cook for the second wicket and 60 with Varun Chopra for the third as Essex threatened at one stage to run riot.

But they were pegged back mid-innings and were grateful to Ashar Zaidi’s entertaining 40-ball 72 not out, which included four sixes, his highest List A score for Essex, for taking their score beyond 300.

Behind the run-rate throughout, Hampshire were always in the game while James Vince (68) and George Bailey (67) were at the wicket in a stand of 91 for the third wicket. Once they departed Hampshire fell further adrift and finished 26 runs short.

After the win, Westley reserved special mention for Zaidi. He said: “Ashar does that a lot for us. It was a game-changing innings.

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“But that’s the beauty of Ash. He is made for those situations. Him and Tendo coming in with 15-20 overs to go is very dangerous for the opposition but brilliant for us. I am sure he will do it many more times in this competition.”

Of his own innings, Westley said: “It was nice to get some runs. Obviously it was disappointing not to get a hundred, but at that stage of the game we were looking to get on. It wasn’t a bad catch to get me, either.”

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Essex only looked troubled when George Bailey and Vince were compiling a 91-run stand.

Westley said: “The wicket of Bailey was crucial and Ravi getting Vince out was key as well because they had a nice partnership going. You know with runs on the board you know chances will come and you have to make sure you take them.”

Hampshire captain Vince said: “We did OK but we weren’t at our best. The main difference was we didn’t have someone to go on and get a big score. Ideally you go on and get 80 or 100. I don’t think 305 was a lot to chase. The way the boundaries are here, and it was a pretty good pitch, at the halfway stage we would have taken that.”

Hampshire’s bowlers were carted for 82 off the last 10 overs, and Vince admitted: “It is a lot. A few of them were leading edges that went for six. With the boundaries as small as they are that can happen.”

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