South Group (N), Chelmsford, June 24, 2022, Vitality Blast
(20 ov, T:199) 155/9

Essex won by 43 runs


Michael Pepper on Cloud nine as Essex condemn Surrey to second straight loss

Aaron Beard four-for seals victory after Paul Walter's 49 helps lay foundation

ECB Reporters Network
Michael Pepper launches one leg side during his 75 from 42 balls, Essex vs Hampshire, Vitality Blast, Chelmsford, May 31, 2022

Michael Pepper launches one leg side  •  Getty Images

Essex 198 for 7 (Walter 49, Pepper 48, Topley 4-37) beat Surrey 155 for 9 (Burns 37, Beard 4-29) by 43 runs
Michael Pepper continued his Vitality Blast love affair with the Cloud County Ground before Aaron Beard returned career-best figures as Essex Eagles condemned Surrey to a second straight loss.
Pepper took his Chelmsford tally to 304 in six innings - and 386 in total - with a tubthumping 48 as Paul Walter continued his fine form with 49 as the Eagles soured to 198 for 7 before fast bowler Beard, making just his second appearance of the season, removed openers Will Jacks and Jason Roy to eventually pick up 4 for 29 - as Surrey fell 43 runs short.
Essex boosted their hopes of securing a home quarter-final to move to seven wins out of 12, while Surrey remain top and will host a home knockout game but having been previously unbeaten in all competitions until Thursday night have lost momentum.
On a fixture celebrating Essex Pride, Surrey stuck the Eagles in to bat and had Adam Rossington caught behind in the second over, with the first two overs only going for six before Pepper went ballistic.
He struck 30 from the first nine balls he faced, with just a dot and a single punctuating his boundary blitz. The South African-born batter began by scooping a six, something he replicated in the following over between a bullet cut shot and followed by four consecutive boundaries off Dan Moriarty.
His hitting paused after a strike to the box, which he never really recovered from as he limped to five more runs before he reversed straight to third - the second wicket in three balls for Sunil Narine.
Essex's rebuild and second 10 overs were a textbook display of accumulation - with only seven dot balls, along with four wickets coming in the second half of the innings for 110 runs.
Walter was the chief architect of the scoring with his 49, which included four towering sixes, as he put on 51 with Dan Lawrence and 44 with Simon Harmer.
Reece Topley made sure his former county didn't get to 200 as he chipped away throughout and added Walter, Daniel Sams and Harmer to his earlier Rossington dismissal to end up with 4 for 37.
Beard made an electrifying start as he picked up both a yorked Roy and Jacks, brilliantly caught at short fine leg by Tom Westley.
Smith and Rory Burns put on 57 with a low-risk approach, while still keeping up with the rate before Dan Lawrence stuck one through Smith. Burns followed by skewing Beard to mid-on and Narine fired back at Harmer as Surrey lost their way.
Laurie Evans continued the slump when sub fielder Ben Allison produced a spectacular solo relay catch at wide long-on - Harmer grabbing two wickets in the over to return two for 20. Beard had debutant Tom Lawes skying to mid-on for his fourth.
Sams pilfered Chris Jordan and Sam Cook had Conor McKerr as Surrey could only reach 155 for 9.

Surrey Innings
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Vitality Blast
North Group
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