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Eagles escape Glamorgan grasp

Essex Eagles pulled off a dramatic victory over Glamorgan with two balls left of the NatWest T20 Blast South Group clash under the floodlights at Chelmsford.

Glamorgan had set a fast early pace, with Jacques Rudolph and captain Jim Allenby scoring 63 and 68 respectively to help the visitors post 189 for six.

New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder hit a quickfire 30 before Tom Westley (48), Ben Foakes (46) and James Foster (32) set up a tense final over, in which Greg Smith delivered a thrilling four-wicket victory with a six.

In a sign of what was to come, Glamorgan, put into bat, started brightly to pass 50 inside six overs.

South African left-hander Rudolph eventually holed out to long-off facing Ryder.

The Eagles, who were missing players through a combination of injury and England call-ups and had captain Ryan ten Doeschate playing in the Indian Premier League, fought back with another quick wicket in the same over.

Ryder struck again in his final ball as Foakes held a fine catch at midwicket to dismiss Mark Wallace for a duck.

However, captain Allenby soon smashed a couple of sixes - one into the River Can - as, with support from Stewart Walters, the Welsh county headed into the final four overs at 153 without further loss.

Allenby was bowled by Reece Topley and then Walters fell on 36, with Chris Cooke following to Matt Salisbury's next delivery as Essex finally made some late headway.

The reply began well as Ryder smashed a huge six on to the roof of the overlooking flats at the Hayes Close End.

Glamorgan got an early breakthrough when acting captain Mark Pettini edged Michael Hogan, just back from Australia, behind.

Essex were 44 for two after Ryder went for another big hit, this time off Will Owen, and was caught on the boundary by Walters.

However, Foakes and Westley kept the Eagles' chase on at just over 10 an over with a fluid combination of boundaries and sixes to reach 97 at the half-way stage.

The partnership was ended in the 13th over when Westley was caught on the midwicket boundary.

Wicketkeeper Foster took Allenby for 24 off the 15th over, two over the rope, before he was caught at third man off Hogan for a rapid 32 and Essex were 160 for four.

Foakes was bowled by Dean Cosker in the 18th over, but Smith then delivered a four followed by a six straight back over bowler Andrew Slater.

Hogan cleaned up Kishen Velani, leaving five needed off the final over.

The scores were level when Smith made sure of a second straight Blast win with another deep six towards the River Stand.

Hogan took 3-30, while Allenby toiled with 56 coming off his 3.4 overs.

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