Bopara, Napier shine to keep Essex alive
Essex 187 for 7 (Bopara 52, Hogan 3-33) beat Glamorgan 171 (Ingram 70, Bopara 3-25, Tait 3-33) by 16 runs
Essex got back on the winning trail to keep alive their slim hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the NatWest Twenty20 Blast, beating Glamorgan by 16 runs in their South Group duel at Chelmsford to record their fifth win in the competition.
After posting a total of 187 for 7, they dismissed their opponents for 171 in 19.4 overs. Essex were indebted to Graham Napier for their imposing total, although his innings lasted just seven balls. That proved sufficient time to use all his muscular power to hoist Graham Wagg for four sixes in an over before he was run out by Michael Hogan attempting a second run.
Napier's savage assault enabled Essex to smash 41 from the final 14 deliveries of the innings after their opponents had looked in control of the situation. The home side's innings was underpinned by Ravi Bopara, although he never looked likely to cut loose. Although his 52 came off 40 deliveries before he was caught in the deep by Dean Cosker on one of the few occasions that he opened his shoulders, his contribution contained 24 singles and just three boundaries - a couple of fours and a six.
The early momentum was provided by Nick Browne who made 38 from 21 balls during a partnership of 58 with Bopara for the fourth wicket that carried Essex into three figures.
Browne was caught at extra cover by Wagg to give Craig Meschede his only success. It was Hogan who emerged as Glamorgan's most successful bowler, the Australian fast bowler returning 3 for 33 in his four overs.
The visitors lost Meschede in the opening over without a run on the board when he was bowled by Reece Topley at the start of their reply. Only briefly did Glamorgan threaten to offer a serious challenge and that was when Wagg and Colin Ingram were together. They launched an assault that saw 52 runs added for the third wicket in 4 overs, Wagg being the dominant partner as he smashed 41 in just 19 deliveries with the help of three sixes among his seven boundaries.
Ingram went on to make 70 from 46 balls, with four fours and four sixes before he was caught in the deep by Mark Pettini attacking Napier. But no other batsman was able to get beyond 18 as Bopara, who ended the fireworks provided by Wagg, emerged with figures of 3 for 25 to underline his value as an allrounder.