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Clarke leads Bears into last four

A superb all-round performance from Rikki Clarke saw Warwickshire to another quarter-final triumph over Essex Eagles at the Essex County Ground, this time in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Earlier this month at the same venue, Clarke's explosive 78 not out secured victory on their way to their NatWest T20 Blast success and this time he struck a more sedate 68 and captured 3-40 to book his team a place in the semi-finals.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby also played a significant part with 4-44 including the wicket of Jesse Ryder who had revived Essex hopes with a belligerent 90 from 95 balls that included three sixes and seven fours.

He had the New Zealander caught at backward point by Varun Chopra with 83 still needed, and that departure led to a rapid decline in the innings as the final three wickets fell in the space of two overs.

But it was Clarke who stole the limelight after Chopra and Will Porterfield both fell to off-spinner Tom Westley with the total on 62 and 67 respectively.

All-rounder Rikki Clarke hits out on his way to a crucial 68 off 84 deliveries as Warwickshire post a match-winning total of 271

Clarke emphasised his class to enable Warwickshire to seize the initiative. In reaching his fifty from only 71 balls, he hit only two boundaries including a six, but his ability to coax the ball into the gaps ensured that the scoreboard kept ticking over smoothly.

Jonathan Trott was equally adept in finding the gaps on a sluggish pitch and he made 61, with six fours, before left-arm seamer Reece Topley had him caught behind.

It was Topley who also removed Clarke, this time with the help of Graham Napier at deep mid-off but if Essex thought they had seen the last of him, they were sadly mistaken.

Given the new ball, he trapped Westley lbw for five before yorking Greg Smith for 10 as the home side slumped to 38 for three in the ninth over, Mark Pettini having been caught behind off Hannon-Dalby for six.

Ryder arrived to give the innings impetus but he was unable to find a partner at the other end to provide the tempo needed to mount a serious challenge.

Kiwi Jesse Ryder trudges off after making an excellent 90 off 95 balls and with him went Essex's chances of chasing down the total

James Foster and Ryan ten Doeschate did their best with 19 runs each but needed 39 and 25 balls respectively to gather those runs.

Clarke said afterwards: "It was not easy to score runs because the pitch was slow compared to when the sides met in the T20. We always aimed for a total in the region of 280 and fortunately we were to achieve that target.

"It was a very good performance from the lads. We were missing several players for one reason or another but we showed we have the strength in depth to overcome such problems."

Essex skipper ten Doeschate said: "It was a big disappointment to fall at the quarter-final stage again but full marks to Clarke. He played really well and got the ball to move about at the start of the innings and reaped rewards from that ability."

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