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September 5, 2009
Essex 279 for 3 (Cook 104*, Foster 83*, Napier 63) beat Durham 276 for 6 (Mustard 102, Blackwell 59) by seven wickets
James Foster sent a message to the England selectors about his hitting power when he struck Durham legspinner Scott Borthwick for five consecutive sixes off the first five balls of an over as Essex surged to a seven-wicket Pro40 victory at Chester-le-Street. He missed out on the chance to finish the match in grand style with a full house of sixes when the sixth ball was fired down the leg side for five wides.
Foster, who was discarded from England's Twenty20 line-up despite impressing with the gloves in the World Twenty20, cut loose when Essex required 33 to win from four overs. All five sixes came over the leg side, with the first two swept before Foster latched onto three pulls as Borthwick, who had bowled well previously, dropped short. Foster ended with a career-best 83 from 38 balls as Essex won with a comfortable 19 balls to spare.
Foster's pyrotechnics overshadowed a second consecutive hundred for Alastair Cook, another player trying to prove his one-day credentials, as he hit an unbeaten 104 from 108 balls to follow his ton against Hampshire earlier in the week. Cook, not a renowned six-hitter, managed two himself but that was nothing compared to his team-mates. Graham Napier didn't hold back, either, as his 63 came from 49 balls during which he added 117 in 16 overs with Cook to set-up Essex's chase.
It was a thoroughly entertaining, high-scoring contest as boundaries flowed for both sides. If the ECB's new 40-over competition reproduces these types of matches next season there will be some good entertainment.
Phil Mustard began a productive day for discarded England one-day players as he and Ian Blackwell added 100 in 12 overs to propel Durham's innings. Mustard's hundred came from 98 balls, but that had faded from the memory by the time the match came to its explosive conclusion.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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