Lancashire v Essex Eagles
Royal London Cup
Thursday 12 August, 11am
Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire: Josh Bohannon, Luke Wells, Rob Jones, Steven Croft, George Balderson, George Lavelle (wk), Danny Lamb, Taylor Cornall, Tom Bailey (c), Liam Hurt, Jack Morley.
Essex Eagles: Alastair Cook, Josh Rymell, Tom Westley (c), Feroze Khushi, Paul Walter, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater (wk) Simon Harmer, Aron Nijjar, Jack Plom, Ben Allison.
Umpires: Paul Baldwin & Neil Pratt
Toss: Essex Eagles, who elected to field
Result: Match Tied
Scorecard: View Here
Match Reaction: Anthony McGrath
Alastair Cook struck a magnificent century as Essex Eagles and Lancashire produced a thrilling tie in the Royal London Cup clash at Emirates Old Trafford.
It was Cook’s 13th List A century and 8th for the County and it was a sublime innings from the opener that ensured his side would gain a home draw in the Play-Offs of the Royal London Cup.
When the Eagles commenced their reply to the Red Rose innings, they knew that they only required a score of 214 to ensure a home tie on Saturday because of points secured and run-rate calculations. Cook and Ryan ten Doeschate took the Eagles to within 2 runs of the target before their 89 run partnership ended when the latter holed out for 45, his highest score in this summer’s competition.
At this stage, with Cook in imperious form, the Eagles looked set for their 6th win in Group A but 3 wickets then fell in 5 balls for 2 runs to raise Lancashire’s hopes of also making the knockout stages in third place in the table.
Cook, timing the ball superbly, drove and cut impressively reaching his half-century from 64 balls before taking a further 49 to reach three figures. He had scored 110 with 11 boundaries when he skied to cover and opened the door for Lancashire.
Those hopes proved in vain but when the last over started, the Eagles required 22 runs. Jack Plom took a single off the second ball leaving Simon Harmer with the strike. Past deeds have shown that the South African relishes a challenge and he rose to the occasion magnificently thumping 3 successive sixes off Steven Croft before having to settle for a couple of runs from the final delivery to leave the match tied to reach an unbeaten 23 from 8 balls.
The Eagles fielded an unchanged line-up after Tuesday’s comprehensive success over Sussex Sharks and won the toss and chose to field.
The Lancashire openers had put on 49 before Simon Harmer bowled Luke Wells for 26 and when ten Doeschate (who finished with 2/33 from 8 overs) saw off Josh Bohannon for 34 and Rob Jones, thanks to a magnificent one-handed catch by Josh Rymell for 6, the Eagles were holding sway.
Croft and Lavelle steadily warmed to the task after striking a six apiece in the space of 3 Aron Nijjar deliveries as they showed commendable shot-selection to eschew possible demise whilst improving the run-rate.
Harmer proved economical with 1/32 from his 10 overs but as Croft and Lavelle took charge, the Eagles bowlers found it difficult to exert the tight control that had enjoyed in the first powerplay overs.
Croft took 75 balls to arrive at his half-century whilst Lavelle was altogether more aggressive reaching a 47-ball fifty and the first of his professional career.
By then, the pair had completed a century partnership spanning 91 balls and when Nijjar finally ended the stand when Lavelle was caught at deep square leg for 52, they had carried the total onto 203-6.
Danny Lamb joined Croft to keep the pressure on the visitors’ attack cutting and driving freely and boosted by the addition of 18 runs from the 47th over. Jack Plom was the unfortunate bowler and was removed from the attack to be replaced by Nijjar who had Croft caught by Paul Walter at deep square leg when the batsman was just 7 short of his century.
In the final over, Ben Allison accounted for Lamb, who had scored 25 from 13 balls, with the assistance of Plom, leaving the Eagles to chase a demanding target that produced a magnificent conclusion.
Josh Rymell plated a loose drive and was caught for 18, Tom Westley made 19 before Feroze Khushi, on 10, dallied before setting off to the striker’s end but was just short of making his ground when wicket-keeper George Lavelle collected Josh Bohannon’s throw and completed the run-out.
Paul Walter departed for 12 to leave the Eagles 123-4 and the match nicely poised. However, the partnership between Cook and ten Doeschate appeared to give the Eagles the advantage before the spin of Croft and Luke Wells intervened to leave both teams sharing the spoils.
The Eagles now head back to The Cloudfm County Ground for a Play-Off match against Yorkshire at The Cloudfm County Ground on Saturday 14 August (11am start). Tickets go on sale from 9am on Friday 13 August online and 10am by phone (01245 254010).
For further information and to purchase tickets, visit here.