Essex 236 (Wheater 83*, Andersson 4-38) and 53 for 1 beat Middlesex 138 (S d 4-27) and 150 (Beard 4-21) by 2 wickets
Unbeaten Essex all but confirmed their location at the Bob Willis Trophy closing as South Group victors having an emphatic nine-wicket triumph over Middlesex.
Sir Alastair Cook, Paul Walter and Tom Westley knocked off the 53 demanded in 13.5 overs, following wickets for Sam Cook (2 ), Aaron Beard and Simon Harmer,’d bowled Middlesex outside for 150.
Essex’s location at Lord’s appeared to have been verified when Derbyshire neglected to receive a batting stage in their North Group fixture from Lancashire, which had been met by cheers in the Essex dressing area. It supposed Derbyshire could just meet Essex’s 90 points if they can succeed Aigburth, but Essex’s superior win album could still take them through.
But, on account of this Covid-related abandonment of Northamptonshire’s game with Gloucestershire, the ECB may nevertheless opt to use internet run-rate instead of matches won to ascertain the finalists. Essex are top in that regard also, even though a freakish set of final-day outcomes, including a quick Derbyshire run-chase in Aigburth could yet violate them*.
Nevertheless, Essex will almost surely face the winner of the Central Group – possibly Somerset or even Worcestershire – to get a five-day match beginning on September 23 in Lord’s.
Middlesex resumed with a slender lead of 25 runs, six wickets down, together with the expectation of the tail placing Essex a catchy fourth-innings chase. It did not pan out how they’d have dreamed immediately; rather, Sam Cook’s dreams were realised.
The fast bowler, who had taken four wickets in the first innings, conquer James Harris’ border of the bat to uproot his off stump with his second ball of the afternoon, and he just wanted another 13 balls to strangle Blake Cullen down the leg side, as the 18-year old tickled into wicketkeeper Adam Wheater – his very first second-innings catch with pouched five before in the game.
He believed Thilan Walallawita’d top-edged a bouncer supporting three balls but the umpire correctly adjudged the ball to have deflected off the batsman’s shoulder.
Cook has been replaced in the Hayes Close End by Beard, on the rear of 3 wickets at 21 balls on day three, that struck instantly. Walallawita watched his leg stump cartwheeling towards the River May Beard unleashed a yorker – the 22-year old finished with career-best amounts of 4 to 21.
And at the following over, Tim Murtagh swung wildly and was stumped to hands top wicket-taker Harmer his 34th scalp of this Bob Willis Trophy. Middlesex dropped their final four wickets in only beneath 15 overs, as John Simpson was left handed on 26 away 123 balls. )
That abandoned Essex needing 53 to secure an 11th straight outstanding success at Chelmsford. Alastair Cook and Walter marched to 41 as struck four borders apiece in what seemed to some procession to success.
Murtagh castled Cook to impede Essex, but Walter (20) trimmed the winning runs off Nick Gubbins, who bowled his legspin whilst sporting a cap.
“It’s turned into a shorter season and awarded the arrangement we knew we had three or four wins to get into the closing, so to win four out of five and another was rained off? You can not ask for more,” explained Anthony McGrath, Essex’s head trainer.
“We’ve carried on from last year; it’s been incredible consistency from everybody, and today we can anticipate a Lord’s final. I had been crucial after the next day against Kent [the first game of the season] but since then we’ve been quite great.
“Actually, now appears great but in the time you never understand in cricket. The men were directly on this morning with all the early wickets. Porter and Harms are inclined to get the plaudits, therefore Sam Cook and Beard go beneath the radar a Good Deal. How Cook has bowled this season he could readily have yet another 15 wickets, while Beard’s spell actually cracked the game open for us he is improving all of the time.
“We’re mathematically in the closing so the men can relax and find a little bit of lunch today. To play with a five-day final at Lord’s is unique – you do not tend to find this in red-ball cricket, and it may not occur again.”
*Permutations right to close on Day 3