Essex County Cricket Club: Chopra century not enough as Eagles are grounded

By Brian Jeeves in Cricket

Essex Eagles v Glamorgan

Brian Jeeves reporting from the Cloudfm County Ground

Essex 219/4 (20/20 overs)

Glamorgan 224/5 (20.0/20 overs)

Glamorgan won by 5 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)

Essex won the toss and elected to bat

DESPITE an unbeaten century from Varun Chopra, Essex Eagles slipped to a dramatic last ball NatWest T20 Blast - South Group defeat at the hands of Glamorgan at Chelmsford.

Chopra appeared to have places Essex in a formidable position, hitting six 4’s and eight sixes as he reached 103 from just 59 balls. Ravi Bopara was also amongst the runs for the home side, scoring 63, while Tom Westley’s 29 had helped the home side to 219/1 from their twenty overs.

However, faced with chasing almost 11 runs per over, South African left-hander Craig Ingram ensured a grandstand finish with an incredible 114 from 55 balls. Glamorgan skipper, Chris Cooke, fell just short of his half-century as the visitors carried the fight, leaving the sellout Chelmsford crowd on the edge of their seats.

Needing two off the final ball, Glamorgan’s Craig Meschede hammered Paul Walter’s delivery over the boundary for six, much to the delight of everyone connected with the Welsh club.

This is Essex’s third defeat in four T20 South Group matches, leaving qualification for finals day at Edgbaston very much in doubt. Speaking after the match Essex’s Varun Chopra, whose unbeaten 103 was a career best, said: “We’re obviously disappointed to be on the wrong side of a really good game. The crowd have really got their money’s worth. But disappointed to lose after posting such a good score.

“We’ve spoken about someone in the top four going on and getting a 70-80-plus score which makes a big difference. That is what allowed us to post over 200 today. Previously our batters have been getting 30s and 40s, which makes it difficult for the guys to really put their foot down.

“Colin Ingram has been playing well all season and he’s struck it brilliantly. We didn’t quite take our chances to dismiss him, they were difficult chances, but I guess against a good player, in good form in a good wicket with small boundaries you’ve got to try and clutch one of them. Hopefully, he’s due a failure [against us] next Sunday!

“Three defeats in four is not an ideal start to the T20, especially two last-ball finishes now. It would have been nice to get one of them over the line, but it wasn’t to be. We’ve got a bit of catch-up to do, but there is a lot of character in the dressing room and hopefully, we can turn it around.”

Meanwhile, Glamorgan centurion Colin Ingram said: “I’ve enjoyed my last couple of seasons coming out to Essex. There is often a short boundary and I try and get my wrists involved to pick it out. I’ve been a bit lucky coming here, a few half-chances have gone down, but I just try and take advantage. It’s a nice wicket with a quick outfield. Sometimes you just have grounds you enjoy going to.

“We were able to play with a lot of freedom today, chasing a big target. I enjoyed the partnerships with different guys. We’re starting to build better partnerships and that’s helping us get these big scores.

“I was quite committed to seeing it through to the end of the game. So to come off feeling I’d left the boys something to do wasn’t great. But credit to the guys who batted at the back-end, they held their nerve and it was an incredible win. Craig Meschede and Waggy played beautifully to get us home. It was another last-ball finish and nice to be on the winning side.”

Essex Eagles: DW Lawrence, V Chopra, T Westley, RS Bopara, RN ten Doeschate*, Ashar Zaidi, JS Foster†, PI Walter, SR Harmer, Mohammad Amir, JA Porter

Glamorgan: JA Rudolph*, DL Lloyd, CA Ingram, AHT Donald, CB Cooke†, AG Salter, GG Wagg, CAJ Meschede, M de Lange, T van der Gugten, MG Hogan

Points: Glamorgan 2 Essex Eagles 0

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