Gloucestershire 212 for (Klinger 95*, Cockbain 69*) beat Essex 182 (Howell 3-28) 30 runs

Michael Klinger hit 95 as Gloucestershire closed in on a home tie in the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals with a 30-run South Group victory over Essex at Cheltenham.

The group leaders posted 212 for 1 on the small College Ground, Klinger receiving excellent support from Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain, whose unbeaten 65 came off just 35 balls.

In reply, Essex made 182 for 9, Dan Lawrence top-scoring with 35 and Benny Howell taking 3 for 28 from his four overs.

The result took Gloucestershire to 19 points from 13 games, while Essex remain on ten with work to do in their final four group fixtures to reach the knockout stage.

Marshall, in his final Cheltenham Festival before leaving Gloucestershire at the end of the season, was the initial aggressor in an opening stand of 75 with Klinger that occupied 8.4 overs.

Marshall had faced 28 balls, hitting seven boundaries when driving a return catch to Ravi Bopara. It was the only Essex success as Cockbain joined Klinger in an unbroken partnership of 137 in 11.2 overs, which delighted the 5,000 sell-out crowd.

Klinger reached his half-century with a reverse sweep for four off Bopara, having faced 41 deliveries, but it was Cockbain, who produced the more explosive hitting.

The consistent No. 3 batsman hit the first six of the game off Ashar Zaidi and went on to smash three more maximums and 6 fours, reaching his half-century off just 28 balls.

Essex were unable to protect the short boundaries on both sides of the pitch as Klinger began to match his partner shot for shot. By the end of the innings the Gloucestershire captain had hit 13 fours and two sixes in his 57-ball knock.

The visitors' reply began badly when Matt Taylor bowled Kishen Velani for a duck in the first over and followed up by having Tom Westley caught at mid-wicket off a miscued pull shot with the total on 18 at the end of the third over.

Nick Browne hit a big six over midwicket off Liam Norwell, but the Essex woes continued when Bopara was caught at short third-man off Howell and Ryan ten Doeschate was run out by Klinger's throw to the wicketkeeper as Browne attempted a quick single to mid-wicket.

It looked a very close call and ten Doeschate stood still for several second before angrily swishing his bat and walking off. At the end of the six-over Powerplay the visitors were 46 for 4.

Browne was caught at deep mid-wicket off Howell to make it 58 for 5 in the eighth over. At the halfway stage of their innings Essex still required 131.

Lawrence, dropped on 21, looked dangerous until, on 36, he lofted Graeme van Buuren's left-arm spin to Cockbain at long-on. And when Zaidi was bowled by Howell aiming a big hit it was 122 for 7, with the contest as good as over.