Essex recorded their third successive win in the CB40 competition when Netherlands were beaten by 117 runs on the final day of the Colchester cricket festival in Castle Park.
After the Eagles had recorded the highest-ever 40 overs league total of 314 for 8 after winning the toss, spinner Harbhajan Singh weaved his magic returning figures of 5 for 37 as the home side gained full revenge for their defeat in Holland earlier this season.
Half-centuries from James Foster, Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate provided the chief contributions to the home side’s sizeable total b ut ravi bopara was out of luck with the bat.
Returning to action after nearly a month out of action, he lasted 11 balls scoring just a single. His loose stroke outside the off stump against Mudassar Bukhari ended with wicket-keeper Wesley Barresi diving to his right to complete taking a fine catch.
Opening the innings, Westley smashed nine fours and a six while making 59 from 40 balls, before being dismissed when he offered a return catch to the first delivery sent down by left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar.
Ten Doeschate made 52 from 46 balls with the help of three fours and a six before he also fell to Seelaar, this time leg before. Foster upped the tempo with 79 from only 48 deliveries before departing in the last over of the innings when bowled by Logan van Beek. He struck seven fours and two sixes but featured in four half-century partnerships as the Eagles turned up the tempo in the second half of their innings.
Faced with their huge task, the Netherlands got off to a fine start and the 50 was raised in the sixth over thanks to Stephan Myburgh whose quickfire 33 from 23 balls included three sixes before he was caught in the deep by Owais Shah attacking off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Then Michael Swart and Tom Cooper continued the solid start with 69 spanning 12 overs before Cooper became the second victim for Harbhajan when trapped lbw for 35 reverse sweeping.
Soon afterwards, Swart’s commendable effort came to an end. Having completed his half-century from 51 balls, he departed lbw to Bopara and following his dismissal, the visitors never threatened to find the acceleration needed to pose any sort of threat as they steadily lost wickets including their last four in 24 balls.
Harbhajan collected three more wickets including a return catch from Wesley Barresi to finish with 5 for 37 from 6 overs while Bopara found better fortune with the ball by picking up 3 for 19 from 6.2 over’s.
The next match for the Eagles is this Thursday when Lancashire Lightning are the visitors to the Ford County Ground for the final CB40 home fixture of the summer.