Essex Eagles travel to Lord’s for their Friends Life t20 South Group match in good spirits following their 3 runs success against Kent last night.
Star performers for the Eagles were James Foster whose innings of 51 added impetus to the innings and gave his bowlers a reasonable target to defend. None responded better than Greg Smith.
The all-rounder who joined the county from Derbyshire at the end of last season completely wrecked Kent’s hopes in a three-over spell that earned him career-best Twenty20 figures of 5-17.
Three of those victims came in his second over and the seventeenth of the visitor’s innings and the 29 year-old admitted that he was delighted to have played his part in the home side’s success.
“Luckily everything went right for me,” he said. “The asking -rate was up to about ten or eleven and some days, you can go out of the park when bowling in that situation,” he said. “So I was pleased to have taken the wickets and kept the runs down and more importantly, it helped to gain us our first win in the competition.
“Now we are looking to building on that with so many games over the next few days and we can take some confidence going into these matches. We had a week without any games but we’ve been working hard on our 20-over skills and strategies in that time and challenging ourselves in different situations.
“Hopefully, we can follow-up the win over Kent Spitfires with a second win in 24 hours, with four matches in five days, it’s a chance to build up some momentum.”
In a thrilling finale as the scores became ever-closer, there was added tension when Kent were awarded 6 runs because of the Eagles slow-over rate. “They could have been costly,” acknowledged the Johannesburg-born player. “But Napes [Graham Napier] kept his cool and bowled an excellent final over and we got over the line. “
Essex have injury concerns over David Masters and Owais Shah and name a 15-man squad for tonight’s match.
Essex Eagles squad to face Middlesex Panthers:
James Foster (captain/wicket-keeper) (7)
Mark Pettini (24)
James Franklin (47)
Owais Shah (3)
Tom Westley (21)
Greg Smith (83)
Ryan ten Doeschate (27)
Graham Napier (17)
Tim Phillips (23),
Adam Wheater (31)
Michel Comber (35)
David Masters (9)
Tymal Mills (5)
Maurice Chambers (29)
Reece Topley (6)