Royal London One-Day Cup: Essex relishing crucial Kent contest

PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 June 2018

Essex players celebrate taking the wicket of Sussex's Harry Finch (pic Nick Wood/TGS Photo)

Essex players celebrate taking the wicket of Sussex's Harry Finch (pic Nick Wood/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Essex face a mouthwatering contest with Kent Spitfires in the Royal London One-Day Cup at Chelmsford on Wednesday, with victory guaranteeing them a place in the play-off stage.

Victory over Sussex Sharks on Sunday set the Eagles up for their chance and head coach Anthony McGrath is delighted that his squad have rediscovered their touch to find themselves on the cusp of extending their interest in the 50-over competition.

“Given where we were a few games ago in this tournament, if someone had suggested that if we won our last game then we would qualify, we would certainly have taken it,” he said.

“We had put ourselves under a bit of pressure with some of our performances, but wins in our last two games have put things back into our own hands. At the start of a competition like this, the first target is to reach the latter stages and we’ve given ourselves every opportunity of doing that.

“We go into this vitally important game having won two on the spin and hopefully, we can keep this momentum going. If we can get the win, then we will have peaked at the right time and hopefully be able to carry this level of performance into the next stages of the competition.”

Kent arrive at Chelmsford two points ahead of Essex and one behind leaders Hampshire. Irrespective of their individual results in their remaining match, both Hampshire and Kent Spitfires have already secured their place in the last eight.

If Essex beat the Spitfires tomorrow, then they will automatically qualify for the play-off stage of the competition. A win by a suitable margin will see them leapfrog Kent into second and secure a home tie. McGrath’s side do still have a chance of qualifying should they lose, although that will depend on other results.

Once again, the coach paid tribute to the overall level of performance of his side that saw them overcome Sussex by four wickets to set up the intriguing contest on Wednesday.

“I thought we were generally in control throughout really,” he said. “We batted really well and for much of the time, our bowling was good. We’ve said throughout this campaign that we believe we are always a side who does better chasing the runs and given the size of the ground and the pitch on Sunday, we were always pretty confident that we could chase the runs down.

“Sussex did turn up the tempo in the last ten overs but they were always going to have to come after us at some point but we were content at having to chase their total of 281.”

Essex squad: Ryan ten Doeschate; Ravi Bopara; Varun Chopra; Matt Coles; Sam Cook; Simon Harmer; Dan Lawrence; Jamie Porter; Shane Snater; Neil Wagner; Tom Westley; Adam Wheater; Ashar Zaidi.

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