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Grayson demands return to form

Essex Eagles head coach Paul Grayson has called on his side to get back to winning ways before the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals.

The Eagles were the first team in the competition to secure a last-eight place - after winning 10 of their opening 11 games – but back-to-back defeats have sucked some of the momentum out of their campaign.

Grayson hopes to rediscover their blistering form when Sussex Sharks visit the Essex County Ground in their final group-stage game tomorrow night.

Victory would not only send the Eagles into their home quarter-final next week in a positive frame of mind, but also assure top place in the South Group – and therefore a knockout game against the lowest-ranked team in the north.

"We've played so well in this competition and we want to finish on a winning note," Grayson said.

"We had a good game with Gloucestershire at the start of the week, although we lost, but I didn't think we played very well the other night against Hampshire when we came up short in all three areas.

"We want to finish these round of matches with a bang, give the crowd something to enjoy and go into the quarter-final full of confidence."

Kishen Velani and Greg Smith have been named in the 13-man squad while Reece Topley is fit to return following a back strain. Ben Foakes is rested.

Sussex can not progress out of the group, but have plenty of match-winners, most notably opener Luke Wright who piled up the second-highest score of this season’s competition against Hampshire last Friday night.

The 29-year-old smacked 116 from 66 balls as the Sharks fell agonisingly six runs short of their victory target.

* Essex Eagles and Sussex Sharks have won 10 games apiece in their 20 meetings in the sprint format.

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