Match Report: Essex v Kent


Essex v Kent

Bob Willis Trophy (South Group)
The Cloudfm County Ground, Saturday 01 – Tuesday 03 August

Team News:

Essex: Alastair Cook, Nick Browne, Tom Westley (c), Varun Chopra, Feroze Khushi, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater (wk), Simon Harmer, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter, Matt Quinn.

Kent: Daniel Bell-Drummond (c), Jordan Cox, Jack Leaning, Ollie Robinson (wk), Heino Kuhn, Darren Stevens, Grant Stewart, Marcus O’Riordan, Matt Milnes, Hamidullah Qadri, Ivan Thomas.

Match Details:

Umpires: Neil Bainton & Ben Debenham
Match Referee: Steve Davies
Toss Won By: Kent, who elected to bat
Result: Essex won by 2 wickets

Thanks to Levett Consultancy who are our matchball sponsors for this match and all fixtures in the 2020 season.

Match Result:

End of Day One: Kent 344-6
End of Day Two: Essex 179-5, Kent 387
End of Day Three: Kent 387 & 112, Essex 298 & 0-0
End of Day Four: Kent 387 & 112, Essex 298 & 202-8

Day Four Match Highlights:

Day Four Reflection – Anthony McGrath:

Day Four Close of Play Report:

Essex pulled off a thrilling 2- wicket victory over Kent in their opening Bob Willis Trophy clash at The Cloudfm County Ground.

Chasing a modest 202 target, they were taken over the winning line by Adam Wheater and Sam Cook but not before the pendulum of fortunes had swung first in favour of one side and then the other.

When Essex lost Nick Browne, Tom Westley and Varun Chopra in the space of 13 runs while slumping to 61-4, the visitors were in the ascendancy.

Nightwatchman Jamie Porter had scored 3 but lasted for half an hour before he became Grant Stewart’s first wicket of the day allowing Alastair Cook to join regular opening partner at the crease.

The duo played sensibly and carried the total to 48 before being parted when Browne fell to slip a catch for 25 off the bowling of spinner Hamidullah Quadri. Stewart then took 2 further wickets in a spell of 3 for 17 but Alastair Cook, together with debutant Feroze Khushi, regained the initiative to establish the home side as favourites.

Cook was at his unflappable best while also encouraging his 21-year-old partner and together they added 86 in 25 overs. Khushi impressed with his neat footwork allowing him to display a number of impressive stokes including a number of drives and pulls on the leg side amongst his 7 boundaries.

It came as a surprise when Cook, having hit 7 boundaries in his 66, fell lbw to Ivan Thomas to leave Essex 147-5.

That was the start of a devastating spell by the paceman in which he took 4 wickets for a mere 8 runs in 17 balls.

Khushi was within 5 of his half-century in an effort spanning 87 balls when he was caught behind, while Ryan ten Doeschate and Simon Harmer were snared with successive deliveries. ten Doeschate became an lbw victim while Harmer was snapped up next ball by wicket-keeper Ollie Robinson.

That left Essex 171-8 and their opponents looking likely winners.
But cool heads prevailed as Wheater and Sam Cook, on a day when he was celebrating his 23rd birthday, got to the winning post as they steadily and skilfully collected the outstanding 31 runs.

Wheater finished on 26 from 46 balls whilst his partner ended with 15 also having faced 46 deliveries. Essex took 21 points from the encounter whilst Kent 7 claimed points.

Resilience and the ability not to panic under pressure were the key ingredients of the County’s double title successes last year and it was again very much in evidence in this match which augurs well for the weeks ahead.

Day Three Match Highlights:

Day Three Reflection – Sam Cook:

Day Three Close of Play Report:

An absorbing day’s play ended with Essex firm favourites to open the Bob Willis Trophy campaign with victory over Kent at The Cloudfm County Ground.

They go into the final day in search of a victory target of 202 with all their wickets intact after bowling their opponents out for 112 in their second innings capturing the last six Kent wickets for 26 runs as the visitors became demoralised by the county’s combination of pace and spin.

Off-spinner Simon Harmer did the major damage with 4 for 35 from 18.1 overs while Sam Cook took 3 for 19 from ten. Jamie Porter (2 for 31) and Matt Quinn (1 for 19) claimed the other wickets.

It all added up to a superb fightback by Essex after they trailed by 89 on first innings, being bowled out for 298 in reply to a total of 387.

The day started with Essex on 179 for 5 and Ryan ten Doeschate and Wheater putting together a stand of 69 before it was brought to an end in unfortunate circumstances.

Wheater, on 37, called for a single when he played a ball towards Heino Kuhn mid-wicket. But he was sent back and despite a desperate dive, failed to make his ground.

Ten Doeschate did not register his first boundary until facing his 105th delivery but was later to despatch Marcus O’Riordan for a four and six off successive deliveries.

The 40-year-old batsman was to find another useful partner in Harmer who contributed 29 during a 68 runs stand to carry the total to 281.

His departure led to a rapid conclusion to the Essex’s reply to Kent’s 387. After reaching 72, ten Doeschate’s effort ended when he was caught in the slips by Jack Leaning.

Matt Milnes was the successful bowler and the paceman then removed Sam Cook and Quinn with successive deliveries to end with 4 for 46 whilst Essex were left a tantalising two runs short of a third batting point.

Essex were soon putting their opponents to the sword when the visitors started their second innings with an 89 runs lead. Only Jordan Cox offered any real resistance as Kent were floundered against the penetrative Essex attack.

The 19-year-old opener resisted for 116 balls before he was bowled by Cook for 29 but wickets fell cheaply around him.

Jamie Porter made the initial breakthrough having Daniel Bell-Drummond caught behind for 5 and then Cook trapped Jack Leaning for 6 and when Quinn had Ollie Robinson superbly caught by Harmer at second slip, Kent were in trouble at 36 for 3.

First innings centurion Heino Kuhn had scored 17 when he became the first of Harmer’s quartet of victims before the off-spinner accounted for Darren Stevens who drove the ball into the hands of Tom Westley at long-on.

Porter returned to remove Grant Stewart to leave the visitors 95 for 6 but all the while, Cox had remained resolute and determined until he was one of three batsmen to depart with the total on 100 as Kent disintegrated.

It was Cook who breached his defences with the assistance of an inside edge whilst Harmer claimed Marcus O’Riordan and Matt Milnes before Cook wound-up the innings.

Essex were left with just one over to face at the end of the day and nightwatchman Jamie Porter effectively resisted without a problem and he and Nick Browne will resume in the morning to launch the Essex drive towards another victory at Chelmsford.

Day Two Match Highlights:


Day Two Reflection – Nick Browne:

Day Two Close of Play Report:

At the close of play on day two, Essex were 179 for 5 with Ryan ten Doeschate unbeaten 22 and Adam Wheater 24 not out and their side needing 9 runs to avert the possibility of following on.

Nick Browne and Varun Chopra combined for a 79 runs third wicket partnership but either side of that, wickets fell cheaply.

Kent having resumed on 344 for 6 were soon dismissed for 387 but their bowlers made life difficult for the Essex batsmen. They were given an early boost when Matt Milnes trapped Alastair Cook in front of his stumps for 8 with 19 on the board and soon after lunch, evergreen 44-year-old Darren Stevens had Tom Westley caught at second slip for 13 to leave the home side 41 for 2.

Browne and Chopra then played with admirable defensive technique and shot-selection to steady the ship and brought up their half-century stand in 16 overs. Browne mixed caution with a number of sweetly-driven shots whilst Chopra, who did not play a single Championship match in 2019, matched the left-hander for concentration and disciplined graft.

But having contributed 41 and with the score on 120, Chopra attempted to paddle-sweep a delivery from off-spinner Marcus O’Riordan and was bowled to give the bowler his maiden first-class wicket.

Four runs later, debutant Feroze Khushi became a second O’Riordan victim when he was caught at short leg for 2 after prodding at a delivery.

Browne brought up his fifty with a single off Grant Stewart having faced 139 deliveries and collected 9 boundaries but having advanced to 61, he dragged a ball from Stevens onto his stumps. It was a disappointing end to an innings that had seen the left-hander bat responsibly for 228 minutes.

It was left to ten Doeschate and Wheater to avoid further problems and the pair batted through the remaining hour together adding 35 runs in an unbroken stand.

Earlier, Kent lost their remaining four overnight wickets for the addition of 43 runs as Essex prospered with the second new ball that was taken at the start of the day.

With the second delivery of the morning, Jamie Porter pinned Heino Kuhn in the crease with the South African unable to add to his fine 140 of the previous day.

O’Riordan and Milnes added 37 in 11 overs before Simon Harmer ended a personal barren spell by having Milnes caught for 19 to give the off-spinner his first wicket in his 27th over of the innings. In his next over, Harmer accounted for Hamidullah Qadri to finish with 2 for 110 and then had a hand in the last wicket to fall when he took a slip catch to give Matt Quinn the wicket of Ivan Thomas.

The Kent total was the highest opposition score by any county at Chelmsford in red-ball cricket since 2014 when Leicestershire scored 433 all out.

Day One Match Highlights:

Day One Reflection – Tom Westley:

Day One Close of Play Report:

A superb century from Heino Kuhn enabled Kent to overcome a disastrous start and take the day’s honours in their inaugural Bob Willis Trophy encounter with Essex at The Cloudfm County Ground.

After coming in with his side deep in trouble having lost three wickets for just 23 runs, the South African went on to score an unbeaten 140 as the visitors closed on 344 for 6 with Marcus O’Riordan 20 not out.

It was Kuhn’s maiden first-class century for the county and was full of aggressive strokes as he moved into three figures from 167 balls and collected 14 boundaries on the way.

Although 10 months have passed since Essex last played a first-class fixture, the new-ball pairing of Jamie Porter and Sam Cook were soon making up for lost time as they reduced the visitors to 23 for 3 inside 6 overs.

Their combined effort plunged their opponents into early trouble before Kuhn arrived to mastermind the rescue. He featured in a, partnership of 150 with Ollie Robinson to take the initiative away from the hosts.

After Daniel Bell-Drummond fell leg before wicket to Cook, Jordan Cox was strangled down the leg side as Adam Wheater accepted an easy catch off Porter’s bowling before Jack Leaning, making his first appearance for Kent after a winter move from Yorkshire and looking to get off the mark, pulled a long hop to debutant Feroze Khushi at mid-wicket giving Cook his second scalp.

Then Kuhn and Robinson took control with the latter scoring 78 before Porter had him caught behind when he found the edge. But any hopes Essex entertained of making further inroads were eclipsed by two further productive partnerships.

Darren Stevens scored 36 while Kuhn added 80 before falling to a smart catch by Nick Browne at cover point to provide Porter with his third success and leave Kent 253 for 5. Then, Grant Stewart joined Kuhn in a partnership worth 53 in 13 overs that carried the total past 300 before Stewart was trapped in the crease by Ryan ten Doeschate to end his innings of 37 from 41 balls.

But there was to be no further success for the 2019 County Champions. Leading off-spinner Simon Harmer was left wicketless after sending down 26 overs that yielded 104 runs.

Essex included Feroze Khushi in the line-up with the 21-year-old debutant becoming the latest Academy player off the production line to appear for the first team.

Day Three begins at 11am on Tuesday and our Live Stream of the game is available via the Essex Cricket Matchzone – here.