Essex at T20 Finals Day – by the numbers


Essex head to Edgbaston on Saturday to take their place among an all-South Group quartet of teams at Vitality Blast Finals Day.

When the Eagles step onto the field to begin their clash with Hampshire Hawks in the first semi-final of the day, it will mark the fifth time they have played on the shortest-format competition’s showpiece day.

In honour of this weekend’s latest Edgbaston appearance, this is a look below the surface at some of the statistics and numbers that have driven those four previous trips to Finals Day.

798 off the bat

In four appearances at Finals Day, and having played five matches across those days, the Eagles have scored a total of 798 runs.

Having batted out their full 20 overs in all five games, those runs have come at a rate of just under eight an over, with an average innings total of 159.

Essex’s highest innings score at Finals Day came in 2013, with a total of 168-5 in a semi-final against Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

Meanwhile, the Eagles went on to prove that it’s not always necessary to hit a giant score to win a match, as their lowest total of 148-6 actually came in securing glory in the 2019 final against Worcestershire Rapids.

Pettini leads the way

Of those 798, Mark Pettini – who played at Finals Day on three occasions for Essex – has scored 138 of them, making him the Eagles’ top scorer on the occasion.

He hit consecutive half-centuries on Essex’s first two outings to Finals Day, notching 57 off 32 against Leicestershire Foxes in 2006, and 54 off 47 in 2008 against Kent Spitfires.

Pettini then made 27 from 23 in that Eagles high score against Northamptonshire in 2013, and a decade on, will now again travel to Edgbaston as part of Anthony McGrath’s coaching staff.

Second to the opener in the Essex run-scoring charts on Finals Day is Ravi Bopara, with 111, while third-placed Tom Westley will be looking to add to the 75 he hit across two games in 2019.

33 with the ball

Meanwhile, the Eagles have taken 33 collective wickets across their five Finals Day matches, with their top two performances and more than half of those scalps, unsurprisingly, having come in the 2019 victory.

Essex dismissed Derbyshire Falcons for 126 in the semi-final four years ago, the first time they had bowled a side out on Finals Day, before taking nine Worcestershire wickets in the final.

All those 33 victims are unique, with no man ever having been dismissed more than once by Essex across the four Finals Day appearances, though quirkily, that could change on Saturday.

Should Ross Whiteley turn out for Hampshire in the semi-final and be out, he would become the first man to fall twice to Essex on the showpiece day, having been removed by Cameron Delport when playing for Worcestershire.

Harmer’s magnificent seven

Simon Harmer has often been invaluable to Essex since joining in 2017, and his worth in T20 is displayed by the fact he is the Eagles’ leading wicket-taker on Finals Day, despite only playing on the occasion once.

He led from the front in 2019, snaring 4/19 in the semi-final against Derbyshire, and at one point was on a hat-trick after the back-to-back wickets of Leus du Plooy and Anuj Dal.

The South African then picked up three more scalps in an even more miserly return of 3/16 against Worcestershire in the final to complete figures across the day of 7/35 from eight overs.

Ravi Bopara is again second after his appearance in the same place in the run-scoring stakes, with five dismissals, while three men – Graham Napier, Dan Lawrence, and Aron Nijjar – are in joint third, with three wickets each.

29 Eagles have dared

Across Essex’s four appearances at Finals Day, and the five matches played within those, the Eagles have been represented by 29 different players.

Of those 29 men, 13 of them have played in just one game on Finals Day, while a further ten have appeared across two games on the showpiece.

The remaining six are part of a select group to have played at least three games for Essex on Finals Day, and it is Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate who lead the way, having played in all five Eagles matches on the occasion.

Four others – James Foster, Graham Napier, Mark Pettini, and Tim Phillips – have all appeared three times, and there is the potential for six current players to equal them, should they turn out against Hampshire.

One victorious day

Eagles fans will need absolutely no reminder of what happened at Edgbaston on 21 September 2019, with the events of the day etched into Essex history, but that hardly means they cannot be talked about repeatedly.

Having seen off semi-final opponents Derbyshire by a comfortable margin of 34 runs thanks to Cameron Delport’s 55 and spin twins Simon Harmer and Aron Nijjar’s combined figures of 7/45, Worcestershire lay in wait.

Chasing 146 for victory in that final, Anthony McGrath’s men needed 17 from the final eight balls as Harmer entered the fray, and the skipper struck his first ball viciously straight for four.

That set up his compatriot Wayne Parnell to defend 12 from the last over, which became a nerve-jangling six off two with the skipper on strike.

The penultimate ball took a big chunk out of what was left as Harmer hammered it for another straight four, prior to a square drive for another boundary that brought the Vitality Blast title back to Chelmsford.