Essex secure second position despite defeat
Middlesex 173 for 7 beat Essex 162 for 6 by 11 runs
Essex still have plenty to smile about, even though they suffered an 11-run defeat in their final Friends Provident t20 group match against Middlesex at Chelmsford.
Results elsewhere meant that they still secured second place, and, with it, a guaranteed home tie in the quarter-finals. In contrast, Middlesex missed out on a place in the last eight because of an inferior run-rate.
Overcoming the loss of Neil Dexter in the opening over, Middlesex went on to total 173 for 7, with Gareth Berg and Ben Scott the main contributors. Berg was caught on the long-on boundary after smashing four sixes in his 41, while Scott's unbeaten 43 from 33 deliveries contained five fours.
But the early impetus was provided by David Warner, whose 37 from 20 balls included six fours and a six. Five of his fours came from successive deliveries sent down by Maurice Chambers during an over in which the young paceman and the batsman were involved in heated exchanges that led to umpire Martin Bodenham stepping in.
Warner was eventually stumped by James Foster to provide veteran Grant Flower with his solitary success. Essex were soon in trouble when they replied. Alastair Cook drove Pedro Collins to short mid-wicket in the second over of the innings, while Ravi Bopara put up a simple catch to short fine leg in Tim Murtagh's opening over.
Bopara's dismissal came in the fifth over, at the end of which only 29 had been scored, such was the disciplined bowling and alert fielding. At the halfway stage, Essex had only 59 on the board, and it was only the late efforts of Scott Styris, playing his final game for the county, and Foster that enabled them to make a fight of it.
They added 58 in just under five overs, but they were never able to get in a position to threaten Middlesex's superiority.Styris finally fell to the last delivery of the innings for 42, an effort spanning 30 deliveries and including two fours and two sixes, while Foster finished unbeaten with 35 from 17 balls.
Collins picked up 2 for 20 from three overs, while Murtagh and Dexter picked up one wicket each for 29 and 27 runs respectively, each sending down four overs.