Pettini sparkles against poor Surrey
Essex 127 for 3 (Pettini 66) beat Surrey 126 for 9 (Brown 35, Kaneria 3-22) by seven wickets
The visitors barely had to break sweat in wrapping up a seven-wicket win with five overs to spare in front of around 16,000 spectators. Surrey can earn as much from one Twenty20 match as from all the other county games in a season put together, although the marketing men would, no doubt, like the team to put on a better show.
Essex aren't one of the power-wielding counties like Surrey but where it mattered, on the field, they were streets ahead of the home side. Mark Pettini continued to haul himself out of a lean spell, switching from Championship to Twenty20 mode with a 35-ball 66, which included a couple of mighty sixes over the leg side.
Pettini's innings took the focus away from Ravi Bopara, who ticked along comfortably in a stand of 82 for the second wicket, before lofting a catch down to long-on. Bopara's England team-mate, Alastair Cook, had been advised by the England management to miss this match after suffering some pain in his right shoulder. The official diagnosis was an "impingement", but it sounded more of a precautionary measure with the Twenty20 international against New Zealand on Friday.
Surrey's innings never recovered from 10 for 3, with the top three all falling for 1. Ali Brown and Usman Afzaal threatened a recovery - Afzaal launching two huge sixes over deep midwicket - but both fell within seven runs against Danish Kaneria. Afzaal was superbly caught by Bopara, running round from midwicket to take a leading edge, and Brown missed a huge swing across the line.
Kaneria's four-over spell once again highlighted the value of spin in the 20-over game, as the batsmen found it harder without extra pace to work with. Bopara's medium pace also did an important job, his four overs costing just 18 runs including the wicket of Chris Lewis, who was signed by Surrey specifically for the Twenty20 Cup.
Lewis didn't have a happy evening, his two overs costing 29 as Pettini cut lose. Playing a 40-year old, who had been out of the county game for eight years before this season - regardless of how fit he is - probably isn't the way to go about joining the Twenty20 revolution.
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo