Essex Eagles well beaten by Glamorgan in Vitality Blast T20
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Glamorgan grabbed their first Vitality Blast win over the season after hammering Essex Eagles by seven wickets at Sophia Gardens.
Figures of two for 13 from Ruaidhri Smith and Andrew Salter’s two for 31 limited Essex to 153 for six.
It was a total Glamorgan surpassed with ease thanks Nick Selman’s 65 and 59 from Marnus Labuschagne who continued his fine start to the Blast with a second straight half century.
Invited to bat first, Essex openers Will Buttleman and Tom Westley had early reprieves.
Buttleman survived a run out scare in the first over while Westley was dropped by Dan Douthwaite at backward point from the bowling of Salter.
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Westley fell soon after to Smith, but Buttleman was quickly into his stride and reached an unbeaten 30 from the first powerplay with his team 49 for one.
Michael Pepper struck the first six of the day before Buttleman departed for 36 from 26 balls, top edging an attempted sweep off Salter to Selman at deep backward square leg.
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Spin was Glamorgan’s main weapon and part-time bowler Labuschagne was next into the attack, immediately strangling Pepper who was caught down the leg side.
Salter cleaned up Paul Walter leaving Essex and New Zealand’s James Neesham – who struck Labuschagne for six – needing to rebuild.
Feroze Khushi also cleared the ropes, but Essex’s boundaries were rare, with Neesham struggling to get going and as he tried to expand, he was caught on the long-off boundary by Glamorgan substitute Callum Taylor for 21.
Essex’s total looked below par and Selman struck the first ball of Glamorgan’s reply through the covers for four. David Lloyd followed with an effortless six over mid-wicket and then a four before hitting the ball straight up in the air for a simple catch.
Labuschagne started slowly, but Selman pulled for six and flicked for four in consecutive balls as Glamorgan went to 48 for one from their first six overs.
At the halfway stage they had progressed to 72 for one. Labuschagne would have been run out, but Sam Cook couldn’t hit the stumps off his own bowling.
Labuschagne took 23 balls to find the boundary, but did so in two consecutive deliveries and Selman went to his 50 from 33 balls as Glamorgan reached three figures.
Selman was dropped by wicketkeeper Buttleman off the bowling of Jack Plom when Essex desperately needed a wicket and Labuschagne rubbed salt in the wound with a four and six from the same over.
Selman was caught and bowled by Simon Harmer and Australian star Labuschagne went too, but Glamorgan couldn’t be stopped and sealed victory with an over to spare.
Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said: “There are still 11 games to go and there is plenty of time to get a good run going. Winning breeds confidence and we need to dust ourselves down and go again.
"We were probably 10 to 15 runs light batting first but we still felt we had a chance. Early wickets were going to be crucial and we couldn’t do that.
"It’s disappointing we couldn’t get a win on the board but hopefully we can get Dan Lawrence back in for Tuesday and if not then, Friday.”