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Jim and Johann can't prevent Essex win

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Half centuries from Johann Myburgh and Jim Allenby couldn’t prevent an Essex victory in the Royal London One-Day Cup at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Tom Westley hit a century as the visitors moved to the top of the South Group thanks to a 72-run win.

A crowd of around 4,000 saw the visitors run up 334 for six from their 50 overs, Westley making exactly 100, Ravi Bopara 92 not out and Alastair Cook 65. Craig Overton and Roelof van der Merwe claimed two wickets each.

 

Somerset were given a lightning start in reply by Myburgh (57) and despite a solid 77 from skipper Jim Allenby, wickets fell regularly as Neil Wagner took three for 55 and Simon Harmer three for 56.

The result gave Essex a two-point lead over Somerset going into the final round of group games, so avoiding defeat in their final match against Kent at Canterbury would put them in the last four. Somerset may have to be content with a play off spot.

After the early loss of Varun Chopra, Westley and Cook laid the foundation for a competitive Essex total with a second-wicket stand of 135 in 20 overs. Cook reached a 54-ball half-century, featuring six boundaries, shortly after his partner had reached the same landmark off 42 deliveries, with nine fours. The former England captain departed with the total on 156, caught behind flashing at a short ball from Jamie Overton.

Westley moved to three figures off 95 balls but without addition he was bowled by Roelof van der Merwe going down on one knee to swing to leg. There was a second wicket for van der Merwe when Ryan ten Doeschate was bowled by a delivery that skidded through. At 215 for four Essex were in danger of falling short of 300.

That changed when Bopara and Ashar Zaidi added 88 in less than ten overs before the latter was well caught by Adam Hose at deep mid-wicket for a brisk 32. Bopara went to his fifty with a straight six off Tim Groenewald, having faced 56 balls, and completed a valuable contribution with another maximum off the final ball of the innings from Craig Overton following a short rain break.

Somerset’s reply began in sensational style as Myburgh, who survived the simplest of chances to Paul Walter at mid-on off the fifth ball of the innings, went on the offensive. The South African was on 48 by time the total reached 50 after just 4.4 overs and completed a thrilling 28-ball half-century, with six fours and four sixes, before holing out to Chopra on the mid-wicket boundary off Quinn.

Peter Trego, Steve Davies and James Hildreth all fell as Essex began to peg the run-rate back. At the halfway stage of their innings Somerset were 158 for four, with Allenby well set. The captain took few risks moving to a 56-ball half-century and was looking on course for another hundred when he drove at Neil Wagner and was caught at cover.

Adam Hose, looking to build on his maiden century in the previous game against Gloucestershire, looked good again before being bowled for 28 by an off-break from Simon Harmer, who sent back Jamie Overton in the same over attempting a second six over mid-wicket.

With the required run-rate rising fast, van der Merwe and Groenewald perished to attacking blows. Some lusty hits from Craig Overton kept Somerset hopes alive before he was run out to finish the game.

After the match Johann Myburgh said: “At 200 for four chasing that score I felt pretty confident but one-day cricket can change pretty quickly once you lose a couple of wickets or have a couple of dot balls. 330 runs is still a big challenge and not easily done.

“I enjoy one-day cricket and batting at the top of the order. I knew that it was the time to take a few risks especially chasing 330. I like to think that at my age I have played a few games and know when to take the risks and when to try to get ahead of the run rate. Luckily a few balls went in my area and I got a few away.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground