Bopara keeps Essex on course
Essex 259 for 7 (Bopara 88) beat Derbyshire by 152 Godleman 60, Topley 4-26) by 107 runs
Ravi Bopara warmed-up for the forthcoming one-day international series between England and Australia by scoring 88 as Essex beat Derbyshire by 107 runs at Colchester. Bopara's fine effort, from 87 balls, keeps Essex on course for a place in the semi-finals of the competition after they had totalled 259 for 7.
It was a target that always looked beyond the visitors, who fielded a weakened side, and lost their first four wickets before the fifty was raised before eventually subsiding to 152 all out in the 32nd over.
Essex left-arm seamer Tymal Mills took the wickets of openers Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes for single figure scores, with his pace proving too much for either batsman to handle. Reece Topley and Tim Phillips then made steady inroads into the innings, but former Essex batsman Billy Godleman did spare Derbyshire from complete humiliation with a fighting 60 from 74 deliveries before becoming one of Topley's victims.
Godleman shared in a half-century stand with Alex Hughes, who made 28, before being bowled by Ryan ten Doeschate, but once that stand had been broken, the visitors folded quickly. The last four wickets went down in as many overs as the innings came to an abrupt end.
Thanks mainly to the accuracy of Tony Palladino, Essex were restricted to 66 for 2 after 16 overs, having been put into bat by Derbyshire. Former Essex fast bowler Palladino removed openers Gautam Gambhir and Mark Pettini for 21 and 23 respectively. But Bopara and Greg Smith were to provide welcome momentum with a stand of 80 in 13 overs before the latter fell to Ally Evans for 30.
By this time, Bopara was moving through the gears and had struck six fours and three sixes when, within sight of his season's second century in the competition, he was trapped leg before by Alex Hughes.
It was late flourish by James Foster and Graham Napier that saw Essex to their imposing total. The pair put on 52 for only 23 balls, of which Napier collected 23 from just 10 deliveries before he was caught in the deep. Foster departed in the same manner to the final ball of the innings, his 41 containing five fours and a six and arriving from 24 balls.