Memorable Eagles T20 Quarter-Finals


Having secured their place in the 2023 Vitality Blast quarter-finals with a dramatic three-wicket win over Surrey that went right down to the last ball, Essex Eagles will make the trip north to Edgbaston on Thursday night.

It will be the latest in a long line of quarter-final appearances in the Blast, with this being the 12th time the Eagles have made it to this stage of the competition, which is the joint-fourth-most of any county.

As the Eagles gear up for the trip to Birmingham, this is a look back into history to revisit Essex’s most memorable appearances at this point of England’s shortest-format competition.

2006: Essex (143-7) v Yorkshire (142-5), Chelmsford

Essex’s second-ever T20 quarter-final, and their first at home, saw the Eagles earn a victory over Yorkshire that took them through to their maiden appearance at Finals Day.

Despite losing the toss, Essex’s attack limited the White Rose to just 143-7 as Tim Phillips bowled a miserly spell of 2/11 from four overs, while Andy Bichel also picked up a brace from his allocation.

Only Gerard Brophy and Darren Lehmann, who hit 43 and 40, respectively, passed 25 for Yorkshire as they stumbled, and it was a total that Essex ultimately overhauled with four balls to spare.


Mark Pettini got the chase underway in earnest with a 12-ball 23, and even as Ajmal Shahzad claimed 2/22, it was an unflustered and unbroken stand of 76 between Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster that sealed victory.

Foster top-scored in the innings with 47, while ten Doeschate made 27 with Richard Dawson, having been tasked with bowling the last over, conceding 28 from his 14 balls as Essex reached 149/5 and progressed to Finals Day.

2008: Essex (192-9) v Northamptonshire (115-7), Chelmsford

Appearing in a third quarter-final in six years, Essex’s opponents this time were Northamptonshire, and though the match was rain-affected, the Eagles still earned a crushing 59-run win courtesy of the D/L method.

Essex opted to bat first, and Ravi Bopara struck an explosive 47 to set a solid platform, with James Foster, who made 26 off 14, and Graham Napier, who hit a 20-ball 40, building on it effectively.

The visitors did hit back a little at the tail end of the innings with some late wickets, but the damage was long since done, and in any event, Northants’ latest worry was the rain that set in during the halfway break.

Essex v Northamptonshire - Twenty20 Cup Quarter Final

Fortunately, the weather cleared up in time to allow the visitors a revised target of 175 in 18 overs, but opening bowlers Napier and David Masters utterly blew away the top order, reducing them to 27-5.

Captain Nicky Boje, batting at six, resisted with 58 from 43 deliveries and shared a partnership of 61 with Lance Klusener for the seventh wicket, but at that far behind the eight ball, defeat was an inevitability for the visitors.

Napier returned to remove Klusener off the last ball of the innings, with none other than Masters taking the catch, as Northants finished a long way adrift to confirm a semi-final for Essex against Kent.

2010: Essex (184-2) v Lancashire (183-6), Chelmsford

Having waited another two years, Essex once again hosted another home quarter-final in 2010 when Lancashire Lightning visited Chelmsford, and the Eagles earned another comprehensive win, this time by eight wickets.

After winning the toss, home captain James Foster opted to insert Lancashire, and his decision paid instant dividends, as David Masters removed Stephen Moore lbw with the very first ball of the match.

The visitors did recover from that to post a competitive-looking total, as Paul Horton top-scored with a 30-ball 44, but the efforts of Chris Wright, who took 4/25 from four overs, proved important in keeping them in check.

Essex v Lancashire - Friends Provident T20

Ultimately, it did turn out to be the case that Lancashire’s total, however imposing it might have looked on paper, was significantly light as the Eagles overhauled it at a canter.

Mark Pettini blasted 81 off 56 at the top of the order, while Matt Walker amassed a 49-ball 74 as the duo shared in a partnership of 147, which remains to this day Essex’s highest for the second wicket in Twenty20s.

Foster then clubbed 16 off five balls as the hosts crossed the finish line with eight wickets in hand to set up another Finals Day appearance, this time facing Hampshire in the last four.

2013: Nottinghamshire (140) v Essex (187-6), Trent Bridge

There are few teams in the country who have been as much of a consistent force in T20 cricket since it began as Notts Outlaws, which made this particular victory, Essex’s first away quarter-final win, all the more impressive.

The Eagles were put in by home captain David Hussey but responded with a show of firepower to post a significant total, led by Ryan ten Doeschate who struck 82 off just 44 balls, alongside Ravi Bopara’s 25-ball 38.

In reply, Hussey top-scored with 61 off 37 and shared in a partnership of 63 off 48 for the fifth wicket with Riki Wessels to give the hosts a slender chance with a requirement of 51 off the last four overs.

However, the tie was then swung the tie decisively the Eagles’ way thanks to a quite remarkable 17th over from Shaun Tait, as he snared only the 14th hat-trick in English domestic T20 cricket with his final three balls.

Having taken care of Chris Read with the first ball of the over, he then saw off Hussey, Ian Butler, and Graeme White, the latter emphatically bowled, to leave the Outlaws 139/9 and their semi-final hopes in tatters.

Graham Napier then took the final wicket as Notts were dismissed a long way short of their target to silence the Trent Bridge crowd and send Essex to a semi-final against Northamptonshire.

2019: Lancashire v Essex, Chester-le-Street

2019: Lancashire (159-5) v Essex (165-4), Chester-le-Street
There will be no Essex fan anywhere who will forget the heady glory of 2019, as the Eagles claimed not just their first T20 title, but an unprecedented domestic double as they paired it with their eighth Championship crown.

In achieving the former, they had to overcome an unplanned trip even further north than previously thought; scheduled to play Lancashire away, the tie actually took place in Durham due to Old Trafford being unavailable.

Simon Harmer opted to insert Lancashire, and thanks to Ravi Bopara being the pick of the attack with 2/28, alongside Aaron Beard’s 2/31, Essex restricted Lancashire to 159/5, even as Alex Davies hit 80 not out from 55.

In reply, Cameron Delport laid the foundations with a 30-ball 44, before Ryan ten Doeschate took up the mantle with a near-identical knock, hitting 45 off 31.

T20 Blast Quarter-final - Lancashire v Essex

With two overs to go, Essex required 23 to win, a situation that many might consider a little tricky, but then again, ten Doeschate and Ravi Bopara are hardly just another pair of players.

The duo struck Liam Livingstone for 22 of those from the penultimate over, including three sixes, to draw Essex level, before Bopara then finished off proceedings in emphatic fashion, hammering Matt Parkinson for six.

That sent Essex to a semi-final against Derbyshire, who were also dispatched, before Bopara again played a defining role as the Eagles dethroned defending champions Worcestershire to spark joyous celebrations.

Might there be more joyous celebrations on the Edgbaston outfield on Thursday night? Secure your tickets to travel up and support the Eagles as they bid for a 13th Finals Day appearance: