Vitality Blast has been frustrating for Essex says Simon Harmer
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Simon Harmer acknowledged that the Essex Vitality Blast season had been very frustrating thus far.
The Eagles skipper was reflecting on a record of just three wins and a point from a washed-out fixture from their first nine matches that leaves his squad with a huge challenge if they are to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
Kent left Chelmsford with both points after the match on Friday was curtailed because of the weather ending The Eagles hopes of recording three wins in five days in the competition.
The Spitfires posted 167 for 9 but with rain in the air and lightning in the close proximity of the Chelmsford ground, the umpires called the game off after Essex had reached 31 for 4 at the end of 5 overs in their reply.
“I think it was a bit disappointing the way the game ended,” Harmer revealed.
“I spoke to the match referee to air my grievances but it is part of cricket.
"There is always going to be a party which is happy and a party which is unhappy and we got ourselves into a situation where we almost lost the right to have an opinion because we were so far away from the game and therefore any opinion against the grain could be seen as sour grapes.
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“We just have to take it on the chin and move on. We had an amazing opportunity to grab the win when we only needed 32 off the Powerplay if we didn’t lose any wickets, so it is very disappointing.
“But it wasn’t to be our night, we didn’t play very smart cricket and it’s hurt us.
“It’s another game where we’ll look back at the end of the season and think ‘what if’. It isn’t the end of our run but it just makes the last five games even more important and ensures we pretty much have to win every single one of them to qualify.
“In a way, it does feel sometimes like we’ve taken one step forward and then two steps back in our T20 cricket in the last couple of years.
The frustrating thing is that when it’s good, it’s really good. The signs are there that we do have something to work with but it’s the inconsistency that causes the frustration.
“It’s fine lines in T20 cricket. Guys aren’t trying to get out but if someone gets caught on the rope, it’s easy to say ‘what is he thinking’. But if it goes for 6, then it’s a great shot.
“There is no doubt that we have to improve and we need to start putting in better performances. We’ve been under pressure this year on a number of occasions and when you are under pressure, it’s easy to make bad decisions but unfortunately that’s just part of professional sport.
South Africa born Harmer took over the captaincy of the T20 side in 2019 and steered the Eagles to their first trophy in that format in his first year but he readily admits their form since has lacked consistency.
“In phases through this competition, we’ve had some good performances but we haven’t been able to put it together as a unit often enough and I think that’s hurt us the most,” he lamented.
“Ultimately you need to learn swiftly on how to go about your business and your work and learn from mistakes quickly because the games come thick and fast in T20 cricket.
“At times, we haven’t played smart cricket.”
Harmer, who has been such an influential part of Essex cricket since joining the club in 2017, highlighted key areas where he is looking for improvement in the EaglesT20 cricket.
“We need to be taking wickets in the first six overs; if you look at where we’ve done well, it’s in the powerplay when we’ve taken wickets and that’s when you hurt teams and you stop them,” he explained.
“We have a game plan of what we want to do in the first 6 overs, then in the middle and at the death and as long as players are buying into that, we can progress from that.
“But when a team is 85 without loss at the end of a powerplay like Kent were the other night, you are really up against it. So that’s an area we definitely need to work on.
“We also need to be a bit smarter with our batting in terms of how we go about our business but as a fielding unit, I have to say we’ve come on leaps and bounds from where we were.
“I’m satisfied with the balance of the side, there are areas where we could be better and should be better but at the end of the day, it’s up to individual performances and we need guys to come to the party.”