Essex Eagles v Somerset
The Cloud County Ground
Essex Eagles: Adam Rossington (wk), Feroze Khushi, Michael Pepper, Matt Critchley, Paul Walter, Tom Westley, Daniel Sams, Simon Harmer (c), Aron Nijjar, Ben Allison, Sam Cook.
Somerset: Will Smeed, Tom Banton (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Tom Abell (c), Tom Lammonby, Lewis Gregory, Ben Green, Roelof van der Merwe, Lewis Goldsworthy, Peter Siddle, Jack Brooks.
Umpires: Nigel Llong & Martin Saggers
Match Referee: Steve Davis
Toss: Somerset, who elected to field
Result: Somerset won by 8 wickets
Scorecard: View Here
Despite a career best 86* from Michael Pepper, Essex succumbed to a blistering partnership between Rilee Rossouw and Tom Abell to lose by eight wickets at Chelmsford.
Rossouw plundered 85 not out with seven sixes and five fours to move ahead of Northamptonshire’s Chris Lynn in the Vitality Blast run-scoring standings as Somerset raced to the target of 189.
All this came after Michael Pepper (86 not out) and Paul Walter (58) were the mainstays of the Essex’s tally of 188-5, Jack Brooks the pick of the Somerset attack with two for 23.
On the same pitch which yielded 477 runs in Friday’s encounter with Sussex, Essex got off to a slower start after being put in.
Adam Rossington gloved one from Peter Siddle through to Tom Banton and Feroze Khushi flourished before lofting Ben Green to mid-wicket.
Pepper spiced things up, sweeping Roelof Van Der Merwe over backward square for six, but when the in-form Matt Critchley fell, the Eagles were 78-3.
It was Walter who changed the complexion of the innings, clearing his front leg and striking the ball cleanly to all parts, one of his five sixes threatening the residents of flats on the old hospital site.
The all-rounder raced to 50 in 26 balls and the stand reached 87 from 47 before he holed out in the deep, one of two wickets in as many balls for Brooks.
Pepper though, whose 50 came in 31 balls, dinked Siddle for six over third man as 20 came from the final over to leave the Eagles 188-5 at the end of their 20 overs.
189 was a far less intimidating target than the 245 that faced Susssex Sharks on Friday and when Will Smeed plundered three sixes from the opening over, Somerset had already put a dent in the target. Shortly after, he edged Sams through to Rossington to fall for 22.
Banton briefly picked up the baton, only for Pepper to send him on his way courtesy of a stunning catch, running in from the fence and diving full length to cling on inches above the turf.
Sams gave Rossouw a life when he spilled a chance in the deep later in the same Ben Allison over.
The groans from a big crowd suggested it was a pivotal moment and Rossouw reinforced the view by lofting the luckless Allison for successive sixes in his next over, before plundering another maximum off spinner Simon Harmer.
Two more mighty blows off Aron Nijjar took him to 50 off 19 balls with five sixes and three fours, and with Tom Abell providing wristy elegance from the other end the 100-stand took just 52 balls as Somerset coasted home.