Cricket: Essex coach McGrath rues missed chances
PUBLISHED: 08:27 13 July 2018
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Essex head coach Anthony McGrath was left to rue his side’s missed chances after their fell to a 39-run defeat against Surrey in the Vitality Blast at The Oval on Thursday night.
Half-centuries from Aaron Finch (58 off 33 balls) and Ben Foakes (56 off 35) put the hosts on the way to a challenging score, before Ollie Pope (31 off 20) and Rikki Clarke (48 off 20) combined in an unbroken 68-run stand lasting 4.4 overs to lift the total to 222-4.
Essex reached 103-1 after 11 overs, but then lost their way and the departure of Varun Chopra (67 off 46) left them 157-5 with time running out.
Matt Pillans (3-34) and Gareth Batty (3-36) combined well for Surrey as Essex closed some way short on 183-7 and McGrath said: “We put down two crucial catches early in the game and dropping Finch on 16 is never a good idea.
“After 15 overs of their innings I was actually pretty happy, but our bowlers got it wrong at the death, and 72 off the last five overs, and 52 off the last three, was where we lost the game.
“Then, when you chase a big total like that, you have get in front of the rate and we could never quite do that.”
Surrey’s Essex-born all-rounder Rikki Clarke, 36, added: “We played some decent cricket in our first two games but didn’t quite get over the line. We should have beaten Kent and we could also have won at Lord’s against Middlesex.
“But tonight was an excellent performance, with Aaron Finch and Ben Foakes getting us into a good early position to push on. We thought 200 was around par on that pitch and, sometimes, when you aim for 200 you can get beyond it.
“Having ‘Finchy’ back at the top of the order is great because he gives us so much confidence as a team with the starts he has given us over the last two seasons. Gareth Batty also bowled brilliantly in the middle overs and enabled us to push their asking rate right up.”