Essex Eagles spin out of Natwest T20 Blast
PUBLISHED: 21:33 08 August 2016 | UPDATED: 21:33 08 August 2016
Four-wicket Patel sends Outlaws to finals day
Essex Eagles saw their Natwest T20 Blast hopes shattered by Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney at Trent Bridge.
Chasing 163, the visitors got off to a flying start as Jesse Ryder hit 10 fours in his 47 off 30 balls.
But once he departed to an unfortunate run out, Eagles were tied up in knots by the home side’s slower bowlers as Patel picked up four wickets to help seal a 39-run win and a place at the finals day.
The two sides had met at the same stage three years ago, when Essex won at Trent Bridge to book one of their four trips to finals day, all of which have ended in semi-final defeat.
As well as fit-again captain Ravi Bopara, Eagles were able to recall Ryder after a calf injury and included Hornchurch’s Paul Walter for the injured Matt Quinn.
But after Bopara won the toss and inserted the hosts, it was part-time spinner Dan Lawrence who was the surprise choice for the first over and conceded seven runs, as Michael Lumb went for a big hit and edged to the third man boundary for four of them.
Veteran seamer David Masters, twice the age of Lawrence at 38, opened the bowling at the other end and restricted the home side to four singles, before Walter struck with only his second ball as Ryder took a catch to dismiss the dangerous Lumb for 11.
Greg Smith hit Walter for a pair of boundaries as his over eventually cost 12 runs and the Outlaws added another 15 off Masters to reach 38-1, as Rikki Wessels hit a pair of fours square on either side of the wicket and Smith swept a six over fine leg.
With 20 wickets to his name in the competition this year, Graham Napier was then brought into the attack and used all of his experience to mix up his pace and hold the hosts to just four runs from his first over.
But Notts ended the powerplay strongly, taking 16 runs from Walter’s second over to reach 58-1, before Bopara and Ashar Zaidi managed to check the flow by conceding seven and four runs respectively from their opening overs.
Eagles claimed a second wicket when Ryan ten Doeschate saw his first ball hit miles into the air by Wessels, with Masters keeping his cool to hold on to the steepling catch to dismiss him for 36, as only two runs came off the over.
And Napier kept the pressure on by conceding just four runs to make it 75-2 at the midway point, with no boundaries now for four overs.
But Outlaws captain Dan Christian cracked Bopara through cover for four after Smith had benefitted from a Napier misfield to sweep the Eagles skipper for a boundary earlier in the over, which yielded 11 in total.
And the home side took 15 from Walter’s third over as their 100 came up off 71 balls, with Smith upping the tempo and clubbing two leg-side fours and edging another to third man to move to 45 off 26 balls, before Eagles responded with another tight, four-run over from ten Doeschate, two of them leg byes.
A bumper 13,500 Trent Bridge crowd saw Smith reach his half-century in the 14th over by hitting Bopara for four, but he dragged the next ball onto his stumps, before Christian and Patel moved the score to 135-3 after 16 overs.
Australian Christian then hit ten Doeschate high into the sky and saw Napier hold on to the catch, before Patel saw James Foster spill a difficult chance.
And, after Napier bowled Mullaney with a good yorker, ten Doeschate tempted Patel to hole out to Nick Browne on the boundary to leave the hosts 150-6 as he finished with superb figures of 3-19.
Napier then accounted for Notts debutant Luke Wood, as ten Doeschate took an excellent tumbling catch in the deep, and although Chris Read scooped him for four and the home side closed on 162-7, Eagles could be happy with their effort in the field.
Ryder had a let-off as he nicked his first ball from Wood between first and second slip for four, then hit another boundary as Essex took nine from their first over and struck Harry Gurney for a lovely four through cover in the next.
But he almost ran out opening partner Browne, who was sent back from halfway down the pitch and survived as the throw missed the stumps.
Ryder clumped Wood over mid-wicket for his fourth boundary, then punched the next ball through cover for another four, before Browne guided his first four through point and dug out a yorker to leave Essex 34-0 after three overs.
Jake Ball saw his second delivery edged fine by Ryder for yet another four, who hit the last ball on the up through the off-side for his seventh boundary.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was brought into the attack for the fifth over, as Outlaws looked to stemmed the flow, but Ryder leant back and arrowed his second ball through extra cover as Eagles got to 50-0 from 29 balls.
And the New Zealander hit Gurney for two more fours as Eagles ended the powerplay on 62-0, only to be run out at the non-striker’s end by Mullaney, who deflected Browne’s drive onto the stumps to end his assault.
Patel and Mullaney then started to build pressure, as Browne and Tom Westley could only take singles off the slower bowling to move the total to 73-1 at the midway point.
And it told as Browne hit Patel to Ball at deep mid-wicket to fall for 22, then Zaidi holed out to Wessels at long-on, after dispatching his first ball into the stand for six.
That left Eagles 82-3, as Bopara joined Westley at the crease with his side needing 81 off 54 balls.
And the pendulum looked to be swinging towards the Outlaws as Ball kept them to just five singles in the 12th over, before Patel claimed his third scalp when bowling Westley to make it 87-4.
Mullaney continued to turn the screw, as the home crowd started to come to life, and had conceded just eight runs in three overs as Bopara and ten Doeschate were left needing 69 off 36 balls.
Tahir kept Eagles waiting for a boundary and Patel picked up his fourth scalp when trapping ten Doeschate leg before to leave them 103-5 as he finished with 4-20.
Then Bopara succumbed to Tahir in the next over, before Lawrence – hampered by a leg injury and using a runner – reverse swept him for four as the visitors were left needing 50 off 18 balls.
Lawrence edged Mullaney to Read and Napier sliced his second ball to a diving Tahir, before Walter smashed his second ball for a straight six down the ground.
But Mullaney finished with 2-16 from his four overs and Walter egded Gurney’s slower ball to Read, before Foster holed out to Wessels at long-on to see Essex all out for 123 with eight balls left.