Essex v Surrey, YB40 Group B, Chelmsford June 3, 2013

Napier's seven destroys Surrey


Essex 312 for 7 (Shah 68, Bopara 54) beat Surrey 134 (Napier 7-32) by 178 runs

Graham Napier took four wickets in four balls on his way 7 for 32, the second best-ever List A bowling figures for any Essex player, as his side beat Surrey by 178 runs in their YB40 match. Essex recorded their second win in the competition in 24 hours after the visitors were dismissed for just 134 in pursuit of their opponents' commanding 312 for 7.

Needing to launch their reply with tempo and substance, the Surrey innings floundered with the loss of their first four wickets in 13 overs for 49 runs, with Napier claiming Jason Roy and Ricky Ponting. The former Australia captain had been beaten outside his off stump by Napier but there was no such good fortune for the batsman when he pushed forward to the bowler's next delivery and lost his middle stump, leaving Napier jubilantly celebrating his prized scalp.

The 33-year-old Essex allrounder continued his demolition job by bowling Azhar Mahmood and Jon Lewis and trapping Zander de Bruyn and Tom Jewell in the crease with full-pitched deliveries. That left the Surrey innings in tatters at 113 for 8. Napier then found the edge to have Stuart Meaker caught in his next over and complete his collection.

Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara had led the scoring for the home side, with Shah playing a superb innings of 68 from 53 balls including three sixes and four other boundaries. Bopara scored 54 from 58 balls, with five boundaries including a six.

Shah and Bopara posted 55 in nine overs for the fourth wicket to initiate the rapid acceleration of the innings. England allrounder Bopara was a surprise inclusion for the home side having been given permission to play by the ECB ahead of the Champions Trophy which starts later this week and he responded with a fine and typically stylish half-century containing wristy strokeplay and trademark drives on either side of the wicket until he was caught at deep midwicket.

His demise allowed Shah to take over and the former England batsman combined elegant and conventional stroke play with aggressive punishing shots as he dominated the visitors' bowling. He set the tone for his side who added 191 runs from the final 20 overs, with Shah at the crease for 15 of those.

There were briskly struck contributions at the top of the order from Tom Westley and Mark Pettini, who scored 34 and 43 respectively, before James Foster added 39 from 18 deliveries at the conclusion of the innings.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brian on June 5, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Those demanding Ponting's recall to the Australian side after he made 192 the other day notably silent in this discussion ...

  • Ray on June 4, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Can't help but agree with @Cyril_Knight. Adams was the one who was going to make our under-performing team world beaters. Getting on for 5 years later and we are in a worse position. I know that it took Fergie 3 years to turn Man. Utd. around but, this is becoming riduculous. There is some (young) talent at the Oval e.g. Burns, Davies, Meaker but at this rate, they won't fulfil their potential. Maybe Ponting (Smith) can be a positive influence(s)? Clearly, the coach won't be.

  • Michael on June 4, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Against Napier is his age for England selection. He is unfortunate to be among those players who make a real impact later rather than sooner. I'd give him a go because he creates excitement. Actually he could have had Bopara's place. Another late mature is Trego; his bowling is too medium but his batting more consistent than Napier's. Both anyway do blinding things at county level and he seems to pick out Surrey for one or two of them. Two years ago Surrey won this competition through being innovative and fearless. This game they looked like recovering victims of bullying. Only Meaker and Keedy looked like bowlers. The spirit had gone away.

  • Shipu on June 4, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Congrats! saw his hat trick or better than a hat trick live yesterday and was very entertaining. Great to see him smiling and enjoying it. Should definitely be part of England's T20 plan at least.

  • Mark on June 4, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    Averages 32.6 in First Class cricket and has only 6 centuries in 130 matches. Bowling average 35.8. Those are very modest returns over a long career that has lasted 16 years, also a remarkably small number of matches for such a long career.

    Top score in List A is only 79 (222 matches), although his bowling average drops to a very respectable 25.8.

    It tends to back up the suggestion made in various comments that he catches the eye with headline performances, but has never been consistent enough to make a strong case, although he can be a very effective limited overs bowler.

  • Naveed on June 4, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    napes, the consummate county professional, top bloke for essex and definiotely should of had more England appearances. ps well done to ravi too..!

  • Mark on June 4, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Thanks @Tom_Bowler. That was my impression too, that he has not produced these feats consistently enough to think of him seriously as an international player. Had he had the chance he may well have entered the "Ian Blackwell" school of international cricket with a single, devastating performance followed by a string of failures. Certainly, bowling at medium pace as he does now, one suspects that your Chris Gayles and Brendan McCullums might take a liking to his bowling unless he managed to be inhumanly accurate.

    Yet another of the what might have beens. Certainly though, his headline feats are the stuff of legend and have made him some real fans out there who look at games like last night's and wonder.

    How many players have got a 4-in-4 without the help of a fielder? It can't be many.

  • Dan on June 4, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    CricketingStargazer, I'm an Essex fan and I love watching Napier when he's having his moments with bat or ball but I don't think he's ever produced the goods regularly enough in either department to suggest he'd have been a significant international player. As you say though there would have been some fun along the way. Now he's in his early thirties and has lost a bit of pace he seems to have really buckled down in four day cricket, he was very consistent with bat and ball last season and he's scored a heap of runs so far this year. As last night shows adding some consistency hasn't cost him the ability to produce the occasional show stopper. If he'd got his head down earlier in his career who knows what he might have done, as it is he'll remain an Essex hero possibly with a lucrative sideline as an off season T20 gun for hire.