Essex Eagles edged out by Middlesex in Royal London One Day Cup

PUBLISHED: 18:56 31 July 2016 | UPDATED: 18:56 31 July 2016

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Nick Browne in batting action for Essex (Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Run chase falters in late stages at Lord’s

Essex Eagles suffered a late batting collapse on their way to a four-run defeat against Middlesex in the Royal London One Day Cup at Lord’s.

Chasing 220 for victory, after a disciplined display in the field, Ravi Bopara’s men looked favourites to secure the win they needed to book a home quarter-final tie as they reached 174-4.

But they lost potential matchwinners Ryan ten Doeschate, Bopara, James Foster and Graham Napier in the space of four overs as four wickets fell for 12 runs and Middlesex kept their nerve to defend their total.

Bopara put the hosts into bat after winning the toss and new-ball pair David Masters and Matt Quinn kept things reasonably tight in the opening overs, before Napier came into the attack to make the breakthrough in the 11th over as Paul Stirling edged behind to Foster.

Masters limped off having conceded 26 runs from his seven overs, but that brought off-spinner Dan Lawrence into the attack and he produced an excellent 10-over spell.

The 19-year-old Lawrence took a return catch off his own bowling low down to get rid of former England opener Sam Robson for 41 to make it 87-2 and had Nick Gubbins stumped by Foster soon after.

Lawrence (3-35) then trapped dangerous Australian George Bailey leg before to leave Middlesex 97-4, as fellow spinners Ashar Zaidi and Tom Westley held to build pressure at the other end.

The hosts reached 159-4 after 40 overs, as John Simpson and James Franklin steadied the innings with a 62-run stand.

But Masters returned to bowl Simpson for 33 as Essex remained on top, before Franklin hit three fours in an over off Napier to move to his half-century from 60 balls.

Ryan Higgins brought up the Middlesex 200 in the 48th over with a four off the returning Quinn, but was then caught by sub fielder Callum Taylor off the bowling Napier at the start of the penultimate over to leave the hosts 205-6.

And Franklin followed for 55 to the very next ball, caught by Zaidi, to leave Napier on a hat-trick, only for Ollie Rayner to survive.

Quinn conceded 10 runs from the final over of the innings, with Toby Roland-Jones run out from the last ball, but Essex would have been pleased with their effort in the field as the hosts closed on 219-8.

Essex got off to a flying start in reply, as Nick Browne hit five fours in the first three overs to see them race to 23-0.

Opening partner Westley also found the boundary in the fifth over, having been starved of the strike, before Browne hit Roland-Jones for three fours inn the space of four balls.

Westley hit James Harris for two more boundaries as Essex ended the ninth over on 54-0, before Browne played out a maiden to Roland-Jones.

And it was Roland-Jones who made the breakthrough in his next over as Westley was caught by Gubbins with the score on 57, before Browne hit him for six to move to his half-century in just 56 balls, including nine fours to leave Essex 77-1 after 15 overs.

Browne hit two more fours off Harris, but the runs dried up after that with only six scored in the next four overs as Essex moved to 93-1 after 20 overs.

After a watchful start, Jesse Ryder hit his first boundary off Franklin at the start of the 22nd over, but the New Zealander was then out, caught by Harris, just two balls later.

And captain Bopara helped Browne add nine more runs to the total to see his side reach the midway point of their innings on 109-2, almost halfway to their target.

Browne broke from the shackles to hit Higgins for his 12th four as Essex reduced their target to 100 from the last 22 overs of the match, but the left-hander was then bowled by Franklin for 79, off 94 balls, to leave the visitors 126-3 after 30 overs.

Bowling hero Lawrence made just five from 15 deliveries before being bowling by Tim Murtagh with the score on 141 as Middlesex sensed a glimmer of a chance.

But ten Doeschate came in and helped Bopara reduce the target to 57 off the last 10 overs, as they milked the bowling for ones and twos mostly, before Roland-Jones returned to the attack and saw his first ball hit to the boundary.

Ten Doeschate was caught behind very next ball, though, which saw Zaidi come to the middle, three days after his matchwinning innings on the same ground in the Natwest T20 Blast.

But he saw Bopara trapped leg before by Roland-Jones for 34, Foster caught off Rayner at backward square leg for just two and Napier bowled by Roland-Jones for a single as Essex slumped to 186-8 as they were left needing 30 from the last 18 balls.

Zaidi hit his first four off Roland-Jones (4-40) as the target came down to 22 off 12, then added another boundary off Murtagh, who was also hit for four by Masters, as Eagles were left needing 11 from the final over.

But Zaidi was trapped leg before by Franklin for 21 and although Masters did manage to find the boundary again, it was not enough as Essex came us five runs short of their target.

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