Search

Natwest T20 Blast: Ravi Bopara hopes history repeats itself for Essex ahead of Hampshire clash

PUBLISHED: 12:30 21 July 2017

Essex's Ravi Bopara hits out during the NatWest T20 Blast match against Surrey (Pic Simon Cooper/PA)

Essex's Ravi Bopara hits out during the NatWest T20 Blast match against Surrey (Pic Simon Cooper/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Essex have lost four of first five games, like they did last year before improving to make knockout stages

Essex have been in this position before in the NatWest T20 Blast. A year ago they lost four of their first five fixtures going into a home match against Hampshire; they won it and built up a head of steam that helped them qualify for the knockout stages.

Hampshire are back in Chelmsford tonight with Essex having won just one of five matches this season. In-form Ravi Bopara hopes lightning strikes again, though he is not as quick as some to label the latest game under lights as must-win.

“It is a little bit,” he admits. “But if you look at the numbers it is not must-win. Even if we lost every game up to six games to go, and then won every game in the last six, we should still go through.

“But in terms of morale and belief, it is a must-win game. It will mean a lot to the boys if we beat Hampshire. It’s all about confidence.”

Essex have lost three of those five games from winning positions, the most recent being on Wednesday night at the Oval when they fell 10 runs short chasing just 151 to beat a Kevin Pietersen-inspired Surrey.

“We weren’t good enough and we haven’t been good enough so far in the competition,” says Bopara. “I wouldn’t say we are the strongest or most skilful T20 outfit compared to a lot of teams this year.

“A lot of teams have moved on with their game, and we are slightly playing catch-up. But that happens. Having said that, our four-day game has gone through the roof. It’s difficult to be like that in every format; possible, but very, very difficult.

“We just haven’t nailed it in T20. We’re not really concerned; it’s not really impacted in the dressing room because, if I’m being brutally honest, I would say a lot of the lads have got their eyes set on a Championship win more than anything. The lads are not too concerned or too down and up against each other and stuff like that; we’re in a good place.”

Not that Bopara has given up on the short format. “We’re by no means out of it. It hasn’t helped that we haven’t had a second overseas player. That whole debacle of what happened with Tamim [Iqbal] has really affected the balance of the side. I also feel we’re a bowler short at the moment. We’ve still got very young and inexperienced players having to play big roles, and it’s a lot to ask from them.”

Bopara was captain of the side who won six of their last nine T20 games in 2016 – with one abandoned – before losing in the quarter-final to Nottinghamshire. He stood down at the end of the season, and says now: “It made me a little too responsible in a way. I think I play my best cricket when I’m a bit more carefree.

“I’d like to go back to it at some point in the future because I’ve learnt from it, and I think I’d be in a better position to do the captaincy in terms of my own game. But I’m enjoying life right now, things are really good.”

Bopara is Essex’s leading run-scorer in T20 cricket with 231 runs and has rediscovered his mojo with a bat in his hands.

“I went through a period in the last 12-18 months where I got a little stale. I was trying other things in my game which I personally think didn’t work for me. I tried to be a technician in an attempt to become a better batsman. I gave myself enough time to do it, but I’ve come out the other side knowing that my natural way is the best way. I’ve decided to go back to just being natural; natural and a bit more aggressive.”

Related articles

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 17:00

Gale Street club lost 38-24 at Old Cooperians last weekend

Yesterday, 16:00

The new boys are currently leading the National League despite only securing promotion last season

Yesterday, 15:14

Essex fast bowler Jamie Porter was delighted to help the 2017 champions wrap up an innings victory over Worcestershire soon after lunch on day three of their County Championship Division One encounter at Chelmsford.

Yesterday, 15:00

London Lions will look to build on last season’s runners-up finish when they open their new BBL campaign at home against the Glasgow Rocks on Friday (September 21).

Yesterday, 14:08

Essex completed an innings and 129-run win over Worcestershire at Chelmsford to send their rivals down to Specsavers County Championship Division Two.

Yesterday, 12:00

Michael Head’s play will be running at the Waterloo East Theatre between October 30 and November 25

Yesterday, 10:00

Imrul Gazi’s men have not played in the Essex Senior League since September 8

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now