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Natwest T20 Blast: Ravi Bopara helps Essex Eagles to pivotal win over Hampshire

PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 July 2017

Essex's Ravi Bopara (right) in Natwest T20 Blast action at Chelmsford (pic Simon Cooper/PA)

Essex's Ravi Bopara (right) in Natwest T20 Blast action at Chelmsford (pic Simon Cooper/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Natwest T20 Blast South Group: Essex (129-3) beat Hampshire (124-9) by seven wickets

Ravi Bopara’s 4-19 helped inspire Essex Eagles to a crucial victory over Hampshire in the Natwest T20 Blast South Group.

The south coast visitors were going well when opener James Vince (29) and number three Michael Carberry (30) were batting together.

But Bopara dismissed both and when he caught Shahid Afridi for 13 off the bowling of Ashar Zaidi, Hampshire were 99-5.

Essex turned the screw with Mohammad Amir (1-18), Paul Walter (2-20) and Matt Dixon (1-25) all finishing with respectable figures from their four overs.

Hampshire struggled up to 125-9, which never looked enough, until Varun Chopra was caught behind for just two at the start of Eagles chase.

It brought Chigwell’s Dan Lawrence to the crease and he, along with Adam Wheater, steadied the ship for Essex.

The pair put on 76 for the second wicket with Lawrence smashing seven fours and one six in his 33-ball innings of 47.

Zaidi hit a breezy 17 to keep Eagles well on top of the run-rate, while Wheater played with maturity at the top of the order.

After Zaidi was dismissed it brought Bopara to the crease and he finished the game off with a big six to end unbeaten on 11 with Wheater six short of his half century.

It was a vital victory for Essex and gives them a confidence-boost ahead of their trip to Glamorgan tomorrow (Sunday, 2.30pm start).

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