Match Report: Sussex Sharks v Essex Eagles


Sussex Sharks v Essex Eagles

Vitality Blast
The 1st Central County Ground


Team News:

Sussex Sharks: Luke Wright (c), Harrison Ward, Travis Head, Ravi Bopara, David Wiese, Delray Rawlins, Oli Carter (wk), Chris Jordan, Ollie Robinson, Will Beer, Archie Lenham.

Essex Eagles: Adam Wheater (wk), Tom Westley, Michael Pepper, Jimmy Neesham, Ryan ten Doeschate, Paul Walter, Feroze Khushi, Simon Harmer (c), Aron Nijjar, Jack Plom, Sam Cook.

Match Details:

Umpires: Robert Bailey & Nicholas Cook
Toss: Sussex Sharks, who elected to field
Result: Sussex Sharks win by 6 wickets

Match Report:

Ravi Bopara struck an unbeaten 62 to steer Sussex Sharks to a 6-wicket win over his former county with 9 balls to spare.

He and Delray Rawlins posted an unbroken stand of 81 in 8.3 overs as Sussex reached 148 for 4 in reply to the Eagles’ 146-9.

Rawlins struck four sixes, the final one concluding the match and taking his own account to a 29-ball half-century that also included 3 fours.

Earlier in the game, Tom Westley and Michael Pepper led the Eagles charge by hitting 53 and 38, respectively.

Opener Westley, having missed the previous six matches, scored 53 from 45 balls that included 1 six and 4 fours and his second wicket partnership with Pepper promised a healthy score for the Eagles after they had been put in to bat.

The pair put on 72 in 8.4 overs before Pepper stepped out of his crease against leggie Archie Lenham and was stumped one ball before the halfway stage of the innings.

Then Westley and Paul Walter added 23 in 20 balls, the second-highest stand of the innings before Walter fell to spinner Will Beer.

Westley was the fourth man out, caught at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of David Wiese but his downfall with the total on 121 brought about a rapid decline in the innings as four wickets fell in 8 balls for 5 runs.

Walter and Jimmy Neesham reached double figures but Westley and Pepper apart, it was a stuttering end to the innings with the Eagles struggling to build partnerships.

There were two changes to the Eagles line-up that beat Glamorgan in the previous Blast match, with Westley replacing Will Buttleman and Feroze Khushi taking the place of Dan Lawrence who is on England duty.

In front of a 2,900 crowd at The 1st Central County Ground in Hove with Andre Nel taking temporary charge of the Eagles squad whilst Head Coach Anthony McGrath is assisting England in a coaching role for the series with Pakistan.

Simon Harmer raised hopes for his side when the Sharks set off in search of their modest target.

The Eagles skipper dived full length to hold a one-handed catch to send the potentially dangerous Luke Wright back to the dugout for a duck with just 2 runs on the board.

And the South African was involved in the next dismissal when his initial throw brought about the demise of opener Harrison Ward for 22 after a mix-up between him and partner Ravi Bopara with the score on 40.

Then 24 runs later, he brought Travis Head forward to have the batsman stumped for 5 and when David Wiese picked out Jack Plom at deep extra cover off the bowling of Aron Nijjar, the Eagles were back in contention as their opponents slipped to 67-4 at the halfway stage of their innings.

But Bopara and Rawlins with sound technique and clean hitting retrieved the initiative to leave the Eagles relying on victories from their final two matches and favourable results elsewhere if they are to progress to the next stage.