Match Report | Gloucestershire v Essex Eagles


Gloucestershire v Essex Eagles | NatWest T20 Blast | The Brightside Ground, Bristol

Gloucestershire Team |Michael Klinger (c), Phil Mustard (wk), Ian Cockbain, Cameron Bancroft, Benny Howell, Jack Taylor, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Chris Liddle, Tom Smith, Jack Payne, Matt Taylor.

Essex Eagles Team |Adam Wheater, Varun Chopra, Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate (c), Ashar Zaidi, James Foster (wk), Paul Walter, Simon Harmer, Mohammad Amir, Jamie Porter.

Umpires |Paul Baldwin & Stephen Gale

Toss |Essex Eagles won the toss and elected to bowl

Result | Essex Eagles won by 3 wickets

Match Highlights:

Match Reaction | Paul Walter stars with bat and ball for the Eagles

Match Report:

The hope of reaching the quarter-final stage of the NatWest T20 Blast is still alive for the Eagles after they beat Gloucestershire by 3 wickets with 3.4 overs to spare at Bristol on Sunday afternoon after the hosts had won the toss.

Jamie Porter took his career-best figures in the competition of 4 for 20 as the home side, who were put into bat, were restricted to a modest 121 for 8 on a pitch that always favoured bowlers rather than batters.

Emerging all-rounder Paul Walter gave Porter superb support with 2 for 17 including a maiden from his 4 overs whilst Mohammad Amir returned 2 for 18 from his 4 over quota.

Setting off in pursuit of victory, Essex were given a great start by Varun Chopra who hit 44, the top score of a low-scoring game and ensured that his side posted 50 for the loss of just one wicket before they started to face a few problems leading to some anxious moments.

Fellow opener Adam Wheater was dismissed for 2, Dan Lawrence for 11 before Chopra’s demise to leave Essex 58 for 3 just after the start of the sixth over.

However, Benny Howell and Tom Smith restricted the visitors to just 4 runs form three overs to step up the pressure. Howell in fact emerged with figures of 1 for 8 from 4 overs to underline his prowess in this format of the game.

The loss of Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate to spinner Tom Smith in the same over for 5 and 10 respectively raised Gloucestershire’s hopes as their opponents slipped to 75 for 5.

Although James Foster became a third wicket for Smith, Ashar Zaidi collected successive sixes off the bowler in the 12th over to tip the balance back to Essex as 16 runs were collected to leave the Eagles 92 for 6 and requiring just 30 runs from the remaining 8 overs.

Zaidi though perished against the spin of Jack Taylor when caught for 18 at deep mid-wicket with the score now 96 for 7 but Walter showed a cool head to guide his side to victory.

Together with Simon Harmer, 26 runs were gathered to see Essex across the finishing line with Walter striking the winning blow when sending the ball over the boundary to end unbeaten on 18 whilst Harmer was 11 not out.

New ball pair Amir and Porter had caused problems for the Gloucestershire openers removing both openers with only 18 on the board. Amir beat Phil Mustard for pace whilst Porter, who had just seen Michael Klinger clear the ropes off his first delivery of the game, then had the prolific Australian caught at deep mid-wicket by Walter.

Cameron Bancroft and Ian Cockbain steadied the ship with a stand of 49 before Porter and Walter teamed up again to remove the latter for 32 before Walter bowled Bancroft for 23.

Porter then claimed the wickets of Jack Taylor and Kieran Noema-Barnett for 1 and 2 respectively before Amir returned to pin Howell in front of his stumps for 20 as the home side reeled to 98 for 7.

The home side’s tail-enders struggled to make leeway against a frugal Essex attack as just 9 runs were conceded in three overs including a wicket maiden for Walter before the final two overs cost 15 runs to leave the visitors with the initiative.

The Eagles have two matches remaining in the qualifying round of games, the first against Kent Spitfires at The Cloudfm County Ground on Thursday before they travel to Hove to face Sussex Sharks 24 hours later.