About the Match
Standing at No.1 position in the north group with 20 points, Warwickshire will face Essex in the second quarter-final clash of the NatWest T20 Blast 2015 on 13th August at Birmingham. Winning 10 games out of 14 played, the Warwicks have been a formidable force to reckon with; Essex on the other hand, managed to qualify for the quarter-finals with 15 points after coming in at No.4 in the south group. While Essex defeated Middlesex in the last league they played, the Warwicks suffered a surprise defeat against Yorkshire in the previous outing; both teams will fight hard to make it to the next stage of the competition with a win on Thursday.
The batting efforts were not up to mark in the last game against Yorkshire; both openers were out for just 11 runs on board and the others too struggled to keep the runs coming. Clarke, Evans, Javid and Gordon contributed to put up 145 runs in the end; the bowlers, however didn’t succeed at defending it and they lost the match by 8 wickets.
Against Northants, Chopra posted a good 52 off 45 while Brendon McCullum contributed 26 runs to help them post 154 runs; this time however, the bowlers took charge and stifled the opponent to dismiss them for 153 runs in a close contest. Hannon-Dalby was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-36 while Gordon and Patel took 3 wickets between them to win the match just 1 run.
The team did very well to come to the top position in the group; however, their recent performances show a bit of complacency setting in, which must be avoided at this stage. With a strong batting line-up that comprises of Chopra, McCullum, Clarke and Evans, they must focus on setting big targets and giving the bowlers something more to chew on.
Winning against Middlesex by 4 wickets after chasing down 151 runs successfully by the 19th over, Essex did well to qualify for the quarter-finals. Jesse Ryder’s powerful 59 off just 27 deliveries combined with Westley’s smashing 45 helped them win the match. Shaun Tait, Topley, Napier and Westley took regular wickets to restrict the opponent in the run-flow earlier.
Against the same opponent in the previous encounter, however, while batting first, they could muster only 109 runs; Ryder, Pettini and Doeschate failed to impress with the bat while others like Bopara and Westley couldn’t build strong partnerships. With the ball, only Bopara put up a disciplined attack, taking 3-12 but it wasn’t enough to defend the lowly total.
They have been inconsistent in their performance and they must now pull up their socks for the challenge ahead; with strong batsmen like Doeschate, Bopara, Ryder, Pettini and Westley and many all-rounders in the team, they can definitely put up a fight on Thursday to stay alive.
While Warwickshire has performed better than Essex throughout the league stage, Essex has good resources that makes them a tough unit too; although the match could go down to the wore, we feel that Warwickshire will once again go back to its winning ways and reserve the semi-final berth with a victory here.