Match Report: Essex Eagles v Hampshire Hawks


Essex Eagles v Hampshire Hawks

Vitality Blast
The Cloud County Ground


Team News:

Essex Eagles: Adam Rossington (wk), Will Buttleman, Michael Pepper, Matt Critchley, Paul Walter, Tom Westley, Daniel Sams, Simon Harmer (c), Aron Nijjar, Ben Allison, Sam Cook.

Hampshire Hawks: Aneurin Donald, Ben McDermott (wk), James Vince (c), Joe Weatherley, Liam Dawson, Ross Whiteley, James Fuller, Nathan Ellis, Scott Currie, Mason Crane, Brad Wheal.

Match Details:

Umpires: Tim Lungley & Alex Wharf
Match Referee: Jason Swift
Toss: Essex, who elected to field
Result: Essex Eagles win by 8 wickets

Scorecard: View Here

Match Reaction: Michael Pepper

“It was a good team performance. With the ball we restricted them to 150 with small boundaries and the first 10 overs was sensational. The spinners in the middle were very good.

“I had freedom to go out and express myself. Playing more T20s against better players you learn different ways of scoring runs. It is fun batting when you are just using your hands.

“I am loving playing the T20s and having the responsibility of coming in at No.3. You are usually coming in the powerplay where you have full license to be aggressive and then I enjoy facing spin.

“Critchley has been unbelievable. He comes out with calmness but also authority of having played around. He knows what to say and it is nice knowing he is at the other end.

“The ramp (which brought up his fifty) I don’t find too hard a shot because it is just putting bat on ball. I found it tough hitting through the ball when it was fuller so using the pace was a better option.”

Match Report:

Michael Pepper smashed his Vitality Blast best as Essex Eagles demolished Hampshire Hawks by eight wickets at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford.

Batter Pepper dispatched four sixes to go alongside eight fours to crash a 75 ball 42 – to better his previous best of 55 not out.

Matt Critchley pummelled 45 in a 100 stand with Pepper as the Eagles chased down Hampshire’s below-par 150 with 37 balls to spare to secure their first home T20 victory over Hampshire since 2017.

Essex have won two from three in the competition, while the Hawks are winless.

Will Buttleman was caught and bowled off his glove and Adam Rossington was starved of the strike before Nathan Ellis kissed his leg stump. But Pepper dominated from then on.

He showed power with conventional shots but mixed it with some inventive flicks. The shot to bring up his half-century, however, was the combination of the two – a ramp shot with some added wrist to take the ball the distance.

Pepper was the Eagles’ top run-scorer in the Blast last season, with 260 runs – he wasn’t finished at a fifty as he dispatched Liam Dawson for back-to-back sixes over midwicket and then into the Hayes Close End gardens.

Mason Crane was his victim in the following over with another straight six, while Critchley went somewhat under the radar for his 24-ball 45 – which included two huge maximums.

Earlier, Essex won the toss and elected to bowl first – their previous six victories all coming when chasing in this format– and after a 25-minute delay due to rain they stifled the Hawks in the powerplay. The visitors only managed to get to 33 with the departure of the yorked Aneurin Donald.

Sam Cook was the main architect of the strong start with a boundary coming off his first delivery and then 11 dot balls – with his second over a wicket maiden.

James Vince and Ben McDermott – on his 100th T20 appearance – both fell as Hampshire laboured to 59 for three after 10.1 overs – but Weatherley, Ross Whiteley and James Fuller made sure they had a total to defend.

Weatherley swept both sides of the wicket with excellence in his 37, while Whiteley and Fuller used brute force to clear the shot boundaries; both striking two sixes each.

Sam Cook and Simon Harmer were the pick of the Essex bowlers, both finishing with identical figures of two for 16. Matt Critchley’s miserly one for 20 was also exemplary.