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Natwest T20 Blast: Great for fans says Essex’s Chopra

PUBLISHED: 07:45 18 August 2017

Essex's Varun Chopra hits out as Sam Billings looks on from behind the stumps in the Natwest T20 Blast (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex's Varun Chopra hits out as Sam Billings looks on from behind the stumps in the Natwest T20 Blast (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Kent duo hit world record as match produces 431 runs

Essex batsman Varun Chopra admitted his side’s run-feast with Kent was great entertainment for those in the stands, but was left disappointed after suffering an 11-run defeat.

The visitors piled up 221-2 thanks to a world-recording opening stand between Joe Denly (127) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (80 not out), but Chopra clubbed 116 off 59 balls to give Essex hope.

The home side needed 16 runs from the last over, but came up short on 210-5 and need a win at Sussex on Friday to have a chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Chopra said: “It was probably another one good for the spectator, plenty of runs and sixes, but another close one we’re the wrong side of.

“It’s another slightly sour one to take, but we’ve got to bounce back and hopefully get two points and I guess hope a few results go our way. If thing work in our favour we can still go through.

“We got off to a lovely start with Dan Lawrence playing nicely and freely at the other end. I had that one good over (where he hit 30 runs off Mitchell Claydon) and we were in a good position.

“Chasing a total like that you always need to keep going and we probably didn’t find that partnership towards the end to see us over the line.

“I think by the middle overs they had worked out the wicket a bit and we lost a couple of wickets as well. We were up with the rate the whole time.

“It was probably just the 17th over where he [Mitchell Claydon] bowled a good over, just six singles, that was the over that really put us under. I got out and it is difficult for players to come in and score at 13 an over from ball one.

“We won’t dwell on it too long. It was a pretty disappointing performance for us in the field and with the ball, and we can’t be proud of it. But Mohammad Amir was outstanding and showed his class as he’s done all tournament – his overs went for 20, while everyone else was going for 12s and 15s an over.”

Chopra now has more than 400 runs in T20 cricket this season and admitted he is enjoying his role.

He added: “I’ve been given the freedom at the top of the order to express myself and hit shots. Previously I’ve either been captain or my role in the side has been to bat through a little bit more.

“I guess I’m really enjoying being told just to go and hit the team as hard as I can. I wonder what I’ve been doing for the last 12-15 years!

“It’s good fun at the moment, but things can always change, particularly in T20. It’s fun to play, but when you lose the rhythm it can be horrible.”

Kent centurion Joe Denly was delighted and surprised to be given a standing ovation by the Chelmsford crowd after his record 127.

Denly, who has represented England in one-day and T20 internationals, said: “It’s probably one of the most hostile places to come. But I got a very special feeling walking off with 127 to my name and to have everyone standing up and applauding was a great moment.

“I’m delighted with my partnership with Daniel at the top. We work well together and run pretty well. To get a world record is something very special. I’m delighted for Daniel as well. It was close in the end but I thought our bowlers came back and held their nerve and managed to get the win that sets it up nicely.”

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