Essex Eagles win again in Natwest T20 Blast

PUBLISHED: 22:06 08 July 2016 | UPDATED: 22:06 08 July 2016

Ravi Bopara makes a run for Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Ravi Bopara makes a run for Essex Eagles (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Zaidi impresses with bat and ball at Hampshire

Essex made it four wins in a row in the Natwest T20 Blast with a tense three-run triumph over Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Ashar Zaidi (47) top scored as the visitors reached 153-6 and nabbed a brace of wickets to keep the home side in check, before captain Ravi Bopara bowled a tight final over to help his side defend their total.

Essex were looking for a double over Hampshire and saw Wanstead youngster Kishen Velani hit successive fours in Tino Best’s opening over.

But Velani was caught off the bowling of Gareth Andrew in the third over, before Tom Westley hit three fours in the next to leave Eagles 39-1.

Jesse Ryder hit Best for two boundaries to bring up the half-century in the fifth over, while Westley moved past his team-mate with two more fours as the total reached 67-1 off six overs.

Ryder was well caught off Liam Dawson to fall for 22 and Westley (33) followed in the ninth over to make it 79-3.

Shahid Afridi and Dawson turned the screw in the middle overs, with Brad Taylor also keeping it tight, before Zaidi reverse swept Afridi for four to bring up the Eagles century in the 13th over.

Zaidi hit Taylor for six as the total moved to 127-3 after 16 overs, but Bopara holed out off Afridi without any further addition.

Zaidi found the boundary again, but was run out in the final over three runs short of a fifty and Ryan ten Doeschate was caught at long-on as the visitors closed on 153-6.

Hornchurch left-armer Paul Walter conceded a leg-side four with the first ball of Hampshire’s reply, but hit back to restrict the hosts to just seven from his one and only over.

Dan Lawrence conceded 10, Matt Quinn nine and Graham Napier eight as Michael Carberry and Jamie Vince took Hampshire to 34-0 off four overs.

But then Westley took a good running catch at long-on to give Quinn the scalp of Carberry (24) in the fifth over and Lawrence bowled Tom Alsop without scoring to make it 43-2.

Vince hit Lawrence for successive fours to see Hampshire end the powerplay on 52-2, before Zaidi bowled a tight first over and conceded only four runs.

Lawrence went for eight in the eighth over, but Zaidi then tempted Dawson to drive to Bopara at extra cover and it was 77-3 at the midway point.

Zaidi maintained his good form with a miserly third over, only for Vince to hit three boundaries in one Quinn over to move to the brink of his half-century.

Westley caught Sean Ervine at long-on to give Zaidi (2-16) another wicket, but Vince moved to 53 not out as Hampshire reached 101-4 after 13 overs.

Quinn claimed the key wicket of Afridi, taking a return catch off his own bowling, to make it 112-5 and Bopara kept the pressure on with a tight 16th over.

Napier then sent the middle stump of Vince (62) out of the ground with an inswinging yorker to leave the hosts 124-6.

The target came down to 22 off 12 balls, but Lewis McManus hit Napier for a four and a six to threaten to turn the game back towards Hampshire.

Then Bopara had McManus caught in the deep by Lawrence to leave the home side needing seven runs off four balls and kept his nerve to restrict them to 150-7.

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