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Essex v Glamorgan: Chopra, Wheater see Eagles soar

PUBLISHED: 17:32 30 May 2018

Adam Wheater and Varun Chopra enjoy a useful partnership for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Adam Wheater and Varun Chopra enjoy a useful partnership for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Varun Chopra and Adam Wheater put on a swashbuckling stand of 189 to inflict Glamorgan’s fifth defeat in five Royal London Cup games this season and put Essex back into contention to move through to the knockout stage.

Jamie Porter of Essex celebrates with his team mates after taking the wicket of Glamorgan's Nick Selman (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Jamie Porter of Essex celebrates with his team mates after taking the wicket of Glamorgan's Nick Selman (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The first-wicket stand was finally broken with a dozen runs required. Until Wheater was stumped for 88 off 99 balls, it had looked like a race to see who would reach their century first. However, Chopra was left stranded on 98 when Essex passed the target of 201 with 18 and a half overs to spare.

Chopra’s 84-ball innings, with nine fours and four sixes, took his season’s tally to 445 runs from five innings.

Essex’s victory was set up by some accurate and parsimonious bowling, led by Jamie Porter, and supported by Matt Coles’s 3-41 in his first List A outing since moving from Kent, and underpinned by Sam Cook’s 0-36.

Porter, who had been rested for the last three games, bowled his 10 overs straight through to record best List A figures of 4-27, beating the 4-40 against Middlesex last season.

Matt Coles of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Tim van der Gugten (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Matt Coles of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Tim van der Gugten (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

By reaching their target so quickly, Essex improved their run-rate significantly, which could prove crucial if they win their remaining group matches against Sussex on Sunday and Kent next Wednesday and qualification goes to the wire.

For Glamorgan, Chris Cooke marked his 32nd birthday with sixes off successive balls in a 75-ball 59, and shared a 64-run seventh-wicket stand in 12 overs with Andrew Salter that lifted the general lethargy surrounding the Glamorgan innings. They left nine balls unbowled from their allotted 50 overs.

Glamorgan, put in on a blameless wicket, started as they went on, posting just 34 from the first 10 overs for the loss of their openers. Nick Sleman epitomised the delusory pace with just 10 from 22 balls before he nicked Porter low to Chopra at first slip. Aneurin Donald had already gone to the first ball he faced, edging a straight one behind in Porter’s second over.

Ingram should have followed when he had four to another edge off Porter, but Chopra dived to his left, getting both hands to the ball but unable to hang on. Glamorgan’s white-ball captain celebrated by top-edging Cook for six in the next over.

Adam Wheater hits four runs for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Adam Wheater hits four runs for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

However, the first time Porter went around the wicket he ended Ingram’s sequence of five successive one-day centuries against Essex. The left-hander was pinned on his crease as the ball slanted in, and he was out for 13.

David Lloyd did not last long, driving Wagner forcefully square to cover point where Simon Harmer took a spectacular catch. And Connor Brown, who had managed four fours in a debut List A 31, departed to a one-handed catch by Wheater in front of first slip to give Porter his fourth wicket.

Cooke and Wagg put on 42 for the sixth wicket in 16 overs before Wagg played all around one from Ravi Bopara and was bowled. Andrew Salter helped Cooke increase the rate and lifted Wagner over mid-on to put up Glamorgan’s 150 as late as the 43rd over.

Salter hammered a second six over cow corner to dent Coles’s otherwise parsimonious figures, but when he went for another next ball, he was caught on the boundary. He had hit 43 from 47 balls, and shared in a 64-run stand with Cooke in 12 overs.

Cooke passed fifty from 72 balls with a six flicked off his legs and next ball carted Coles over cow in the most expensive over of the innings, costing 17 runs. Bopara thought he had Cooke, on 59, caught off a head-high no-ball by Cook, but the South African swung at the next ball and Bopara took the return catch above his head.

Coles wrapped up the innings with wickets in successive balls as Ryan ten Doeschate slid in on his knees on the long-off boundary to remove Smith before Timm van der Gugten was lbw.

Chopra showed the Essex intent as Ruaidhru Smith was twice deposited over the leg-side boundary ropes for six in his first two overs, which went for a combined 21.

With Wheater finding the gaps, the opening pair had 50 on the board inside eight overs, 100 up in the 16th. The wicketkeeper was first to his personal fifty, chopping Smith wide of slip for his fifth boundary, and from his 55th ball. He followed up by going down the wicket and slogging his sixth four through mid-on.

Chopra’s half-century, reached with a single into the off-side off van der Gugten, came from 45 balls and contained five fours and those two sixes.

When he was 63, Wheater had a reprieve as a lofted drive flew through van der Gugten’s hands at mid-wicket. It did not disturb his flow as he swept Lloyd for six over mid-wicket.

The 150 partnership came up in 26 overs before Chopra clouted Salter for a straight six, and then helped himself to four and another six in successive balls off the spinner. Salter accounted for Wheater when he went down the wicket and was stumped after hitting seven fours and a six.

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