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Classy Chopra continues fine form

Highlights from Edgbaston

Stand-in captain Varun Chopra continued a golden spell as Warwickshire made it two wins in three days in the Royal London One-Day Cup with a convincing 118-run demolition of Sussex Sharks at Edgbaston.

Chopra's 111 from 139 balls set up a total of 273 for five and in the process he reached 312 runs from his county's sequence of five successive victories in two limited-overs competitions.

This proved to be far too much for Sussex. Having started with a partnership of 71 by Ed Joyce and Luke Wells, who made 47 and 22 respectively, they subsided for 155 after Boyd Rankin had removed the openers in the space of three balls on his return from injury.

Trialist Josh Poysden, a Shoreham-born leg-spinner who has previously played for Sussex's second XI, made the next breakthrough when Craig Cachopa drove to deep mid-off and Jeetan Patel advanced the collapse with two wickets in four balls.

With Patel taking 4-24 and Ateeq Javid also joining the party, three spinners had combined figures of 7-83 in maintaining Warwickshire's hot streak.

Having qualified for the NatWest T20 Blast knockout phase, they are already making a strong case in the 50-over format after beating Middlesex at Lord's on Sunday. 

Chopra successfully transferred his consistency in the Twenty20 competition into the longer format by completing his seventh List-A century after taking marginally the lesser role in an opening partnership of 160 in which Will Porterfield made 83 from 100 balls.

It was by no means a deluge of runs as the initial 10-over powerplay produced three maidens and 45 dot balls, including 17 in succession against Yasir Arafat and Lewis Hatchett.

The canny Arafat was by far the pick of the attack, although he was only rewarded in his final spell when taking three wickets - Chopra among them - at an overall cost of 36.

Sussex 's trio of spinners conceded 121 runs in 22 overs. Their only success was the one that broke the hosts' opening stand. Porterfield, having quietly picked off eight fours, went for something more extravagant, hoisting Will Beer to deep midwicket - where Matt Machan held a good catch.

At that point Chopra was on 70 but there was to be no immediate alteration to his tempo. Although he reached his first 50 with a six over long-on off Ashar Zaidi, he later went through 24 overs without a boundary until taking consecutive fours off Beer in the 90s.

Jonathan Trott managed only one boundary before he was caught behind for 15, chasing a ball slanted across him by the left-armer Hatchett, and Laurie Evans failed to connect properly with a scoop shot off Arafat. 

As a result there were only a handful of overs left when Rikki Clarke made the one big effort to get after the bowling. A massive blow onto the first tier of the pavilion stand was smartly caught by a spectator and the all-rounder also smacked three fours in his 31 from 22 balls.

By then Chopra had been bowled by Arafat, having hit five fours and the solitary six, and in the final over Clarke top-edged a simple catch back to Sussex's attack leader.

When Sussex batted, Trott did not field because of a dead leg which makes him doubtful for the next 50-over fixture against Durham at Gosforth on Thursday.

Chopra has made the adjustment to 50-over cricket with a ringing endorsement from his county's cricket chief for his runs and leadership in Warwickshire's progress to a NatWest Blast T20 quarter-final at Essex on Saturday.

Dougie Brown, director of cricket at Edgbaston, said: "He played really well in Twenty20. The challenge for him as a batter is to lead by example and score runs and be there at the end so guys can bat around him.

"His strike rate is up enormously from where it was and he is batting deeper into the game. He has also captained the side outstandingly."

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