Cricket: Middlesex leave mark on Essex
PUBLISHED: 19:30 19 April 2019 | UPDATED: 19:31 19 April 2019
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Middlesex opened their Royal London One-day Cup campaign with an exciting 38-run victory over Essex at Chelmsford.
After posting 366-8 in their 50 overs, they bowled their hosts out for 328 on a sunny Good Friday.
Defeat left Varun Chopra with the dubious distinction of being on the losing side after scoring his second century of the week in the competition.
Chopra followed up his 111 against Glamorgan 48 hours earlier with a superb 127 from as many deliveries before he was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Eoin Morgan attacking Toby Roland-Jones.
Chopra's innings contained two sixes and 14 fours and his removal from the scene in the 38th over with the total on 256 proved the turning point.
With Tom Westley, Chopra shared in a second-wicket stand of 158 in 22 overs after Alastair Cook had been caught behind by John Simpson off Tim Murtagh for only 11.
Westley made 77 from 59 balls with the help of two sixes and seven fours before he fell to return Nathan Sowter catch.
Middlesex's innings, after they had been put in, owed much to Dawid Malan.
The opener, without taking undue risks, stroked the ball fluently around the field while gathering 11 fours in his 95 made from 102 balls.
With his century beckoning, it needed a fine throw by Peter Siddle at cover to remove him when his direct throw from cover hit the stumps.
John Simpson, Morgan and Steve Eskinazi all scored better than a run-a-ball before being dimissed in the 20s but it was Nick Gubbins and George Scott who gave the Middlesex innings momentum in the later overs.
Gubbins struck seven fours in making 56 from 57 balls while Scott plundered five sixes and three fours from only 30 deliveries before becoming one of Sidddle's three victims at a cost of 71 from 10 overs.
It was not a match Ravi Bopara will want to remember as he conceded 59 while sending down half-a-dozen overs and made just 20 before edging Roland-Jones to wicket-keeper Simpson who was standing up to the paceman.
Following Chopra's dismissal and that of Bopara in the same over, Essex were always struggling to keep up with the required rate despite the efforts of Ryan ten Doeschate.
The Essex captain made 39 from 19 balls, his departure providing the excellent Sowter with his fifth wicket when he was stumped.
Sowter's teasing spin brought him a personal best of 6-62 from 9.2 overs and was just reward for a disciplined performance.
Robert White, on a two-month loan from Middlesex to help Essex overcome a wicket-keeping crisis with both Adam Wheater and Michael Pepper recovering from injuries, underlined his promise with four catches and a stumping to go with the five catches he took in the victory against Glamorgan.
But his efforts were not enough to spare Essex from defeat after Middlesex finished one run short of their highest 50-over score.