Essex Eagles captain James Foster hailed a “beautiful performance” after Surrey were brushed aside in last night’s Friends Life t20 South Group fixture at the Kia Oval.
Greg Smith and Owais Shah put on 98, the former top-scoring with 62 from 42 deliveries, as Essex hunted down a target of 149 in 18.5 overs for the loss of just two wickets.
“Beautiful performance that; almost a perfect performance I felt,” a delighted Foster told ecb.co.uk.
“I thought we bowled very effectively ... and then chasing that down in the manner we did, two down, is an incredible effort.
“The big three (Hamish Rutherford, Smith and Shah) did exceptionally well and I’m really pleased for Greg Smith. He’s worked on his game a lot this winter.”
Although Foster was satisfied with Essex’s display in the field, which restricted Surrey to 148 for six, he still expected the subsequent chase to prove more exacting.
“It looked easy, but it wasn’t easy,” he added.
“When you’ve got your pads on you’re thinking, right, this is going to go potentially down to the wire, numbers seven, eight, nine and 10 will all be having a hit.
“We got off to a good start but Surrey are very much a squeezing team in my opinion. They’re very good at squeezing; they’ve got canny spinners in those middle overs and people like (Jade) Dernbach and Azhar Mahmood who are very good seam bowlers.”
Essex now sit second in the South Group, behind defending champions Hampshire Royals on net run-rate having played two games more.
They next take on Leicestershire in an LV= County Championship fixture, before returning to t20 action against Sussex Sharks on Sunday.
“There’s no point looking too far ahead; we’re playing against some good teams coming up, but all the teams in our group, I feel, are very strong,” reasoned Foster.
“Ultimately, every game you play it’s just the old cliche of wanting to win that match. So (it’s) four-day cricket for us now starting Wednesday and then we’ve got a big game at Sussex down at Hove who are a very difficult team to beat. I’m not sure when we last won down there so it’s (going to be) hard work.”