Bopara finds form in Essex victory
Essex 209 for 5 beat Somerset 144 by 65 runs
Mark Pettini and Ravi Bopara blasted Essex to a 65-run victory over Somerset in a Friends Life t20 South Group match at Bath.
Pettini made 81 from 52 balls, with eight fours and three sixes, and Bopara cracked 72 from 42 deliveries - with eight fours and a six - as the visitors rattled up 209 for 5. Tim Phillips then took 4 for 22 and Ryan ten Doeschate claimed 3 for 18 as Somerset were bowled out for 144 with three balls remaining.
It was Essex's second win in three days and Pettini's men are now level on 14 points with Somerset - who were beaten for the second successive match. Despite the disappointing result for the home fans, it was still entertaining fare for the 7,000 who turned up to watch Somerset's only game of the season at the Recreation Ground.
Most of the crowd were able to sit in the rugby club stands after it was decided to cut a pitch this year that is about 100 yards further away from the ones usually used by the county. The new pitch played well and, with the outfield fast, Essex raced along to 56 for 2 off the six powerplay overs after Pettini had won the toss.
Adam Wheater was the first to go when he pulled leg-spinner Max Waller's first ball to Kieron Pollard at midwicket, and Tim Southee departed after he skied a slower delivery from Pollard to Lewis Gregory at mid-off. Owais Shah fell in the seventh over when he charged down the pitch to slow left-armer Arul Suppiah and was bowled.
Pettini and Bopara took the score on to 97 off 12 overs before both players opened their shoulders and started peppering the boundary boards. All three of Pettini's sixes came after he had reached a 42-ball half-century. The first was pulled off Pollard and the next two were straight-driven off Murali Kartik, who got his revenge when the Essex captain fell to a diving catch by Peter Trego at long-off.
Bopara carried on the assault and brought up his 35-ball half-century in the 19th over. He then smashed Pollard for six over midwicket in the last over before he was run out by James Hildreth's throw from the deep with one ball left.
Somerset's reply got off to a poor start as Phillips accounted for skipper Marcus Trescothick, bowled, and Craig Meschede - caught at long-off - with only 12 runs on the board.
David Masters had Trego taken at mid-on and it became 68 for 5 after Ryan ten Doeschate dismissed Hildreth and Jos Buttler in his first over. Hildreth holed out to Pettini at long-on, while Buttler, whose 31 came from just 16 balls, skied a drive to Tom Craddock at deep cover.
West Indies star Pollard smashed 21 from 12 balls, but Somerset hopes were all but ended when he played across a ball from Masters and was leg before wicket.
Phillips returned to have Suppiah caught at midwicket and Lewis Gregory stumped. Then, after Waller had been caught and bowled by ten Doeschate, the innings concluded when Kirby was yorked by Southee.