Gloucestershire v Essex
NatWest T20 Blast -
Won by 6 wkts
Chris Dent blasted 55 not out off just 23 balls as Gloucestershire produced a shock NatWest T20 Blast victory over South Division leaders Essex by six wickets at Cheltenham.
The left-hander hit 5 sixes and 2 fours to clinch an unlikely win, a target of 184 being reached with two balls to spare in a thriller. Skipper Michael Klinger contributed 45, while both Alex Gidman and Ian Cockbain made 27.
Essex posted 183 for seven after losing the toss, Ravi Bopara profiting from being dropped three times to make 51 and Ryan ten Doeschate smiting 27 off 9 balls at the death. Benny Howell was the most successful bowler with four for 26 from his four overs.
It was only the second time in 12 group matches that Essex had suffered defeat. Gloucestershire had only pride to play for, with no chance of reaching the quarter-finals.
The visitors made a poor start to their innings when Tom Westley was caught behind for a golden duck off the third ball of the game, bowled by left-arm spinner Tom Smith.
But Mark Pettini and Kishen Velani responded with a stand of 42 off 28 balls before Pettini was caught at deep square by Howell of Graeme McCarter. His 26 had featured 5 fours.
At the end of the power play Essex were 59 for two. The eighth over saw Bopara survive a caught and bowled chance to Howell on four and Velani, on 34, caught at long-on the ball after depositing a full toss over mid-wicket for six.
The former England Under-19 batsman had hit 6 fours in his 23-ball innings. Bopara was badly dropped for the second time on 19, Jack Taylor spilling the chance at short third-man from a reverse sweep.
Ben Foakes (23) helped add 52 in 34 balls for the fifth wicket. Bopara had hit 6 fours and a six by the time he fell to Howell in the 18th over, the ball after being dropped for a third time by David Payne, the same fielder atoning on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
If Gloucestershire thought that was the end of their problems, ten Doeschate had other ideas. The Essex skipper smacked 2 fours and 2 sixes in his cameo and 19 came off the final over, sent down by McCarter.
Gloucestershire openers Klinger and Gidman both hit straight sixes off the third over of their team’s reply, sent down by left-arm spinner Tim Phillips, who had been given the new ball.
George Sharp was umpiring at both ends, with his partner Stephen Gale operating at square-leg, having received a painful blow on the knee from a straight drive by Bopara during the Essex innings.
Young seamer Matt Salisbury conceded only three off the last over of the power play and it wasn’t until the seventh over that Klinger and Gidman brought up their half-century stand.
Bopara broke the partnership on 71 by inducing a return catch from Gidman while conceding only two off the ninth over. There was no keeping the England one-day international out of the action as he then took a catch at deep mid-wicket off Phillips to send back Howell for a brisk 16.
Salisbury took a brilliant low catch running round from short third-man for remove danger-man Klinger, with Gloucestershire requiring 91 off 7.5 overs. But successive sixes from Dent off Greg Smith in the 14th over kept the home side’s hopes alive.
Cockbain helped add 70 in six overs before being bowled by Graham Napier at the start of the 19th over. Even then Essex looked favourites, but Dent was now flying and finished the game with 2,2,6,4 off the final over from Salisbury.
Essex skipper ten Doeschate said: “We were carrying a few injuries and it was a bit of a jaded performance. I felt we should have scored more runs on that pitch and we are disappointed.”
Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bowl.
Michael Klinger | Alex Gidman | Christopher Dent | Ian Cockbain | Hamish Marshall | Benny Howell | Adam Rouse | Jack Taylor | Tom Smith | Graeme McCarter | David Payne |
Mark Pettini | Thomas Westley | Ravinder Bopara | Benjamin Foakes | Ryan ten Doeschate | Gregory Smith | James Foster | Kishen Velani | Graham Napier | Tim Phillips | Matthew Salisbury |