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Posts Tagged ‘essex’

  • Derbyshire have brought in Stuart Law (who was cut loose by Lancashire) to boost their one-day firepower, but he won’t feature much in the County Championship. Charl Langeveldt will also be absent for at least three matches following his acquisition by Kolkatta for the IPL, but captain Chris Rogers is probably the best short-sighted colour-blind ginger cricketer in the world.
  • Gloucestershire, if anything, had an even worse season than Glamorgan, finishing rock bottom of the Championship in 2008. John Bracewell has a tough task on his hands to turn things around, but James Franklin’s arrival will help improve the standard of a bowling attack that struggled so much last year.
  • Northamptonshire struggled to win matches in 2008, so may be secretly hoping that Monty Panesar is dropped by England so that he can take key wickets for his county. The motley crew of Kolpaks and ‘Steelboks’ will otherwise have its work cut out to improve on last year’s showing.
  • Surrey find themselves back in Division Two once again, but the summer’s signings of Andre Nel – who will be available throughout the season – and Grant Elliot will boost their chances of promotion. Mark Ramprakash, of course, is still there, and now that he has passed the 100 centuries milestone, his county will be hoping that the part-time ballroom dancer returns to his form of 2006 and 2007.

A Division One preview will follow tomorrow.

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Despite a general feeling that this would be a runfest, Kent’s openers were both gone before 20 runs had been scored. Van Jaarsveld and >McLaren made half-centuries to help the Spitfires set a not-too-humiliating 215 as the victory target for Essex, but the Eagles, with the likes of Bopara and Napier in the side, would clearly knock off 215 in no time. Wouldn’t they?

Essex made a good start before Mahmood struck to remove Pettini and Gallian, with Robbie Joseph then getting rid of danger-men Bopara and Cook. Grant Flower stepped up, Stevens dropped ten Doeschate, Essex won with 7 balls to go.

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In tomorrow’s Friends Provident Trophy Final, the Kent of Rob Key, Joe Denly and Yasir Arafat take on the Essex of Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara and Graham Napier.

Both sides have been on top limited-overs form this season, with this being their second finals day meeting of the summer. Whilst Kent, on paper, are the better side, I don’t think the match is going to be played on paper this year, and Bopara in particular always has the ability to make a game-changingly big score.

I think Kent will edge it, unless one of Essex’s big hitters goes ballistic.

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With the Twenty20 Cup having reached the Quarter-Final stage, the remaining eight sides are only three matches away from the riches of the inaugural Twenty20 Champions’ League (providing, of course, they don’t field any players from the ICL, and aren’t replaced by teams from Pakistan).

  • Durham, before this year’s tournament began, had won fewer games of Twenty20 than any other county (a mere 8), but Shaun Pollock’s economy rate has been consistently low, and even a certain, currently banned player has turned out for the now-quite-well-named Dynamos, taking 5-14 against Derbyshire. Add to that the fact that runs are being contributed from a variety of sources, and Durham look like genuine contenders.
  • Lancashire have always been quite good at twenty20, so it’s no surprise that the Lemurs have made it to this stage. Lou Vincent and Mal Loye have been scoring plenty of runs, whilst Mahmood and Marshall have been taking wickets. I’d like to think they can win the whole thing (preferably with Freddie bowling some overs and scoring some runs in the final).
  • Middlesex’s record in the Twenty20 Cup was, like Durham’s, pretty poor before the start of this year’s competition, but they’ve been making up for it this year, mainly due to an improvement in their bowling. They have no ICL players, so they could actually compete in the Champions’ League with their current team, which is a plus. Also, they have Dirty Dirk Nannes.
  • Northamptonshire, unlike Middlesex, have loads of ICL players, so will probably not be Lalit Modi‘s favourites. I wouldn’t have picked them to make it this far, to be truthful, but Rob White has made plenty of runs and numerous others have put in good performances at crucial times to put the Steelbacks into the last eight. Given that they’ve surprised me so far, I’m not going to write them off at this stage.
  • Warwickshire haven’t made too many runs – they have only once scored above 160. Despite this, they’ve lost none, had a tie (ooh, a tie) and two matches which ended in no result, which means that their bowlers must be doing something right. Of those bowlers, Salisbury and Botha have been the pick, taking wickets and going for not many runs at all. All in all, the King of Spain‘s men definitely have the pedigree to make the finals day.
  • Yorkshire are strong contenders for the overall win. Adil Rashid has got a lot of people excited, and his 4-24 last night was proof that he can perform on the big occasion. Anthony McGrath, meanwhile, has scored more runs than anyone else in the competition. In addition, there’s always Dazzler to spice things up a bit.

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Geoff Miller recently said that he wanted England’s “peripheral players not to be just knocking on the door but banging it down”.

Ravi Bopara is probably one of the players he was talking about, and Bopara has continued his recent good form by making 201 not out in Essex’s Friends Provident Trophy Quarter Final destruction of Leicestershire.

Despite his poor form in Sri Lanka, there’s still a strong case for Bopara’s promotion from the England fringe to the Test side, especially if Paul Collingwood or Ian ‘Cricketer of the Year‘ Bell continue to produce the type of form that requires votes of confidence from the selectors.

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