Hampshire v Essex Eagles
Vitality Blast (South Group)
The Ageas Bowl, Wednesday 16 September
Hampshire: James Vince (c), George Munsey, Sam Northeast, Joe Weatherley, James Fuller, Lewis McManus (wk), Ian Holland, Chris Wood, Ryan Stevenson, Mason Crane, Shaheen Afridi.
Essex Eagles: Cameron Delport, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Michael Pepper (wk), Ryan ten Doeschate, Paul Walter, Simon Harmer (c), Matt Quinn, Jack Plom, Aron Nijjar, Sam Cook.
Umpires: Billy Taylor & Ben Debenham
Match Referee: Peter Such
Toss: Essex Eagles who elected to bat
Result: Essex Eagles won by 54 runs
Match Reaction: Jack Plom:
Aron Nijjar produced a superb spell of slow left-arm bowling to support solid batting contributions with the bat by Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence assisting the Eagles to a 54 runs victory against Hampshire in their Vitality Blast contest at The Ageas Bowl.
The 25-year-old Nijjar bowled his four permitted overs straight off from the Pavilion End that included the first three during the powerplay when he only conceded 21 runs and took two wickets as the visitors defended a total of 168 for three.
And when he sent down his final over, Nijjar grabbed a third wicket and conceded just a single to cap an excellent performance as Hampshire found themselves 38 for 6 after seven overs and their hopes in tatters.
Jack Plom, Matt Quinn and Sam Cook had also taken a wicket apiece at that stage and the Eagles continued to retain their grip as the home side limped to a sorry 114 for 9 at the conclusion of their 20 overs.
Having won the toss, the Eagles openers Cameron Delport and Westley reached 57 in 6.5 overs before Delport was caught in the deep for 31 to pave the way for Lawrence to join Westley in a stand worth 38 in little more than five overs.
During that partnership, Westley recorded his best score of the season with 51, his half-century arriving from 35 balls with 6 boundaries before edging a ball from Ryan Stevenson behind the wicket.
Monday’s hero Lawrence was again impressive although somewhat more reserved than down at Hove. Although he lost Michael Pepper for 5, he and Ryan ten Doeschate raised the tempo posting a 50-run stand in 29 balls.
Lawrence again struck the ball sweetly and powerfully for an unbeaten 49 from 34 balls whilst ten Doeschate was 29 not out from 20 balls when the Eagles innings closed.
Nijjar struck his first blow with the fourth ball of the Hampshire innings when George Muncey’s reverse sweep was brilliantly caught one-handed by Sam Cook.
Three balls later, Plom strangled James Vince down the leg side to claim his first senior wicket for Essex and the 21-year-old fast bowler later picked up another to finish with a very satisfactory 2 for 18 from 4 overs.
From 4 for 2 after seven balls, Hampshire continued to suffer against the Eagles incisive attack reeling to 38 for 6 in the seventh over.
The highest partnership of the innings (25) was created by Chris Wood and James Fuller before the latter was caught in the deep off Paul Walter who also sent down maiden over when Wood swiped at five successive deliveries missing each one before finally laying bat on ball without reward.
Walter ended with figures of 1 for 21 from his allotted spell.
Stevenson and Wood added 22 before Harmer chipped in with a wicket and when Plom had Stevenson caught for 17, Hampshire were 94 for 9 and still one run short of equalling their lowest score in T20 cricket against Essex.
Mason Crane and Shaheen Afridi avoided that ignominy in an unbroken liaison of 20 for the final wicket but the Eagles took the honours with a comprehensive win to keep faint hopes of qualification alive.