T20: Bopara blast helps Essex see off Surrey
PUBLISHED: 21:38 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 21:38 29 August 2019
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Ravi Bopara's 35-ball 70 not out, including four sixes, took Essex Eagles to a 19-run win against Surrey at a packed Kia Oval which keeps alive their hopes of Vitality Blast quarter-final qualification.
All-rounder Bopara also took the wicket of Ben Foakes later for nine as Surrey could only reach 167 in reply to Essex's 186-4, with Jordan Clark's T20-best 60 from 32 balls and Ollie Pope's 35 the only real notes of defiance.
Seamer Jamie Porter, playing his first T20 game for more than a year, took 3-27 in three overs at the start of Surrey's run chase - claiming the prized wickets of Aaron Finch, Sam Curran and Mark Stoneman to leave the home side up against it.
Porter then had Clark caught and bowled, from a skied heave, from the penultimate ball of the match to finish with 4-38. The final over had begun with Clark hitting Porter for four and six - but, with 31 runs still required when the over started, Essex were always in control.
Clark at least gave a 25,000 full house - Surrey's fifth capacity crowd of the tournament - some late entertainment with four sixes in all, after seeing wickets tumble around him. Mohammad Amir's 1-21 from his four overs was an outstanding effort for Essex.
Bopara had earlier been joined in a rollicking unbeaten fifth wicket stand of 117 in 10.4 overs by Ryan ten Doeschate, whose 55 not out came from 44 balls. It was a record for Essex's fifth wicket against Surrey in T20 matches.
Ten Doeschate hit two sixes, mowed over mid-wicket off Imran Tahir and Finch, while Bopara's four maximums helped him first to his half-century, completed off his 29th ball, and then to give the innings a brutal finish in which he drove Jade Dernbach over the ropes at mid-wicket and long-on.
Gareth Batty's off spin brought him excellent figures of 4-0-15-1 but none of the other Surrey bowlers could keep a check on Bopara and Ten Doeschate as they accelerated Essex on from 72-4 at the halfway point.
Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence provided most of the early impetus for Essex after Cameron Delport and Adam Wheater had fallen cheaply in the opening overs, both skying catches into the covers off Dernbach and Curran respectively.
Westley took two successive legside fours off Curran in the fifth over, while Lawrence leg-glaced the same bowler for four before off driving the first ball of the next over, bowled by seamer Clark, for a handsomely struck six.
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Lawrence, however, mishit a short ball from Clark to short third man to go for 18, leaving Ten Doeschate to open his account with a clipped four off his pads from the first ball he faced to take Essex to 48-3 from the initial six-over powerplay.
Westley heaved Tahir's leg spin over mid wicket for six but was then fourth out for a 24-ball 30 in the tenth over, lobbing a top-edged reverse sweep at Batty straight into the hands of short third man.
That brought Bopara in to join Ten Doeschate, and together they changed the course of the match with a mixture of clean striking and excellent running between the wickets.
Turning point: Given that two nights earlier he had smashed nine sixes in a 53-ball 102 not out against Somerset at the Oval, it could be argued that the game was settled the moment that Aaron Finch was caught at extra cover for 12 in just the second over of Surrey's reply.
Shot of the day: Ravi Bopara completed his fifty with a six slapped dismissively off Sam Curran to wide long on that was a near-miracle of timing.
Unsung hero: Jamie Porter, in only his 16th T20 match, did with the white ball what he does so well as one of the best opening bowlers in championship cricket - take wickets up front. His spell of 3-27 in three overs left Surrey on 29-3 and quickly in deep trouble as they set off in search of a win target of 187.
Up next: Surrey have now finished their south group campaign in a lowly eighth position, with a disappointing five wins from 14 matches, while Essex still have to play Kent Spitfires, at Chelmsford tomorrow evening, as they search for a quarter-final place.