Bopara shines as Kent slump continues
Essex 180 for 8 (Bopara 39, Shah 39) beat Kent 118 (Tolley 4-26, Bopara 3-12) by 62runs
Essex claimed their second Twenty20 victory over Kent in the space of three days, this time by a margin of 62 runs, when the sides met in their Friends Life t20 Group South match at Chelmsford. Replying to a total of 180 for 8, the visitors could only manage 118 all out in 17.3 overs, a failure that condemned them to their fifth successive defeat in this season's competition.
The Essex total was built on fluent rather than explosive batting, with their top six batsmen aside from Graham Napier all putting together useful contributions.
Openers Mark Pettini and Hamish Rutherford shared in a partnership of 59 in five overs, the former gathering 33 from only 17 deliveries before giving a return catch to Mitchell Claydon. Napier fell first ball in the same manner while Rutherford became an lbw victim of James Tredwell for 27 made from 14 balls .
That paved the way for Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah to gather 78 in just under 10 overs. Both made 39, Shah striking three sixes in his 32-ball effort while Bopara twice cleared the ropes in an innings spanning 30 deliveries. The pair were removed by the nagging accuracy of spinner Tredwell when they each holed out to Alex Blake at deep square leg.
Ryan ten Doeschate weighed in with a useful 27 but Essex had looked set for a far bigger total after moving beyond 100 in the 11th over. Tredwell emerged with figures of 3 for 19 from his four overs but Bopara bettered that.
He followed up his effort with the bat by taking 3 for 12 in three overs with his brisk medium-pace. He removed Rob Key, Sam Northeast and Sam Billings in the space of 10 balls at a personal cost of five runs and they were blows from which Kent never threatened to recover.
Reece Topley saw to that as he went on to destroy the middle order with an impressive performance of left-arm pace that brought him figures of 4 for 26. In a sorry display, the visitors who were 73 for 2 at one stage then stumbled from one problem to another as their innings disintegrated in the face of accurate bowling backed up by superb work in the field.