Cook and Foster seal Essex chase
Essex 289 for 3 beat Nottinghamshire 287 for 7 by seven wickets
James Foster and Matt Walker put together a thrilling unbeaten century stand to carry Essex to a superb seven-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire in their Clydesdale Bank 40 clash at Chelmsford.
Replying to a total of 287 for 7, Essex reached their objective with an over to spare as Foster and Walker shared in a partnership of 108 in 10.3 overs.
Foster plundered 66 from 44 balls, with the help of seven fours and a straight-driven six against Ben Phillips that sealed victory. Walker contributed 45 from 26 deliveries, with the aid of seven boundaries.
The efforts of the third-wicket pair came after Alastair Cook had provided a persuasive argument for being included in England's side in the longer version of the limited-overs format.
Cook has made no secret of the fact that he was disappointed to be left out of the recent World Cup squad and pressed his claims with a fine 96 from 102 deliveries. His innings included 13 fours, and it was while seeking his 14th with a leg-side pull that he was bowled by Luke Fletcher.
Most of Cook's runs came during a second-wicket stand of 110 in 18 overs with Ravi Bopara, another player hoping to win the nod from England's selectors. Bopara did his cause no harm at all by making 50 from 39 balls, an effort that contained three sixes in addition to a couple of fours.
His innings was brought to an end by spinner Samit Patel as Neil Edwards took a catch in front of the sidescreen.
The assault from the Essex batsmen came after Notts opener Alex Hales had put together a punishing 116 to carry the visitors to their formidable total. He scored those runs from 101 balls, and on the way laced his innings with a dozen fours and three sixes before he skied a catch to Adam Wheater in the covers.
Hales had earlier taken part in a partnership of 124 in 17 overs with Patel, whose 69 from 51 deliveries included 12 boundaries. While they were together, Notts had looked set to post a much more imposing total after reaching 150 at the halfway stage.
But they were pegged back by left-arm spinner Tim Phillips, who conceded just 34 in his seven overs. Bopara, with his medium pace, also played a part in putting the breaks on, with figures of two for 40 in eight overs.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe had the satisfaction of claiming the wicket of Hales and later that of Chris Read. But the South African's line and length left much to be desired as he conceded 73 in his eight overs.