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NatWest T20 Blast, July 4: As it happened

A wrap of Friday evening’s NatWest T20 Blast games, where leaders Essex Eagles, Hampshire and Gloucestershire claimed South Group wins as rain ruined the entertainment elsewhere.

By Dominic Farrell

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10.09pm - That's it from me as Essex stay top of the South Group, with Hampshire hot on their heels after impressive wins for both.

Gloucestershire saw off Sussex to keep their quarter-final hopes flickering but rain ruled the roost elsewhere.

Here are the vital statistics from all that. See you again next time.

South Group

Essex Eagles (166/5) beat Surrey (165/4) by five wickets in their top-of-the-table clash at the Essex County Ground.

Hampshire (173/9) beat Kent Spitfires by 47 runs at the Spitfire Ground.

Gloucestershire Gladiators (138/7) beat Sussex Sharks (125) by 13 runs in a match reduced to 15 over per-side at Bristol.

Somerset won the toss against Glamorgan but the SWALEC Stadium saw no further action.

North Group

Northants Steelbacks were bundled out for 82 by Leicestershire Foxes but rain arrived to spare the champions’ blushes.

The games between Worcestershire Rapids and Yorkshire Vikings, Birmingham Bears and Lancashire Lightning and Durham Jets and Nottinghamshire Outlaws were all abandoned without a ball being bowled.

9.48pm - RESULT! Essex Eagles (166/5) beat Surrey (165/4) by five wickets at the Essex County Ground. That’s finishing of the highest order from Ryan ten Doeschate, who brings it home for the hosts with 40 from 30 balls. By contrast, Surrey’s scoring rate stalled in the early stages of their innings and that ultimately cost them.

Essex remain two points clear at the South Group summit, while Surrey are replaced in second by Hampshire. That’s the last of tonight’s live action so we’ll get a summary up for you shortly.

9.40pm - RESULT! Hampshire (173/9) beat Kent Spitfires (126) by 47 runs at the Spitfire Ground. Wood continues a theme, rearranging Adam Riley’s furniture to finish with a magnificent haul of 4-24. None of this looked likely when Hampshire slumped to 62 for four, but Sean Ervine’s knock was a game-changer. 

Hampshire go level on 14 points at the South Group summit with Essex but, with the latter needing six from 14 balls to beat Surrey, that state of affairs doesn’t look like lasting too long.

9.38pm - Wood bowls Adam Ball and Kyle Abbott does likewise to Ben Harmison and Mitchell Claydon. Hampshire more or less home and hosed.

9.33pm - Blake goes and that might also be Kent’s faint hopes leaving the field. Chris Wood joins Coles in doubling up.

Ben Foakes sends a return catch to Kevin O’Brien and Essex are five down. A mighty six from James Foster does something to calm the nerves.

9.24pm - Could things get interesting at the Essex County Ground? Dunn bowled Pettini to end his explosive efforts. Eight singles from 10 balls have followed in a circumspect period for the hosts.

Matt Coles has his second wicket at the Spitfire Ground - it’s been a superb evening for the all-rounder. Billings is back indoors for 19 and Kent are up against it on 114 for five. Blake has 25 from 19 and much rests on his shoulders.

9.17pm - Matt Dunn traps Ravi Bopara lbw for 24 the ball after being smeared for a massive six. Essex remain very much in the box seat, needing 59 from 50 deliveries with Mark Pettini 42 not out.

Alex Blake and Sam Billings have a far stiffer task in hand for Kent, needing 81 from 40.

9.04pm - Well, Cowdrey won’t be going big - he’s stumped off Danny Briggs’ first delivery of the match.

8.59pm - Kent bring up 50 in the eighth over, with Fabian Cowdrey and Darren Stevens unbeaten on 19 and 11 respectively. The Spitfires could do with one of those pair going big.

8.50pm - RESULT! Gloucestershire (138/7) beat Sussex Sharks (125) by 13 runs at Bristol. Two fine catches in the deep from Hamish Marshall and skipper Alex Gidman cap a superb fielding display from Gloucestershire and give off-spinner Taylor 3-12. Ian Cockbain’s 52 was a huge factor in the hosts posting a match-winning total. They might have been reduced to 15 overs per-side at Bristol, but there was no shortage of entertainment.

8.44pm - Another yorker and another man bowled. McCarter is the man to get rid of Steffan Piolet. Will Beer responds with a four through midwicket, moving to 17, and Sussex need 18 from eight balls. 

8.40pm - Jack Taylor yorks Brown from around the wicket and the game could be up for Sussex.

8.35pm - SMACK! Ben Brown welts a reverse sweep for four behind square. But back come Gloucestershire as Will Gidman bowls dangerman Yasir Arafat. Sussex 101 for six needing 38 from 22.

8.30pm - Graeme McCarter is the latest Gloucestershire player to showcase his all-round skills by trapping Harry Finch lbw for 16. Sussex are 84 for five - 55 from 32 is the equation.

8.19pm - Gary Wilson has an unbeaten 54 to his name as Surrey head into the final over on 151 for four at Essex. Kevin O’Brien’s 33 was similarly influential on the London county getting their foot down.

Hampshire complete their 20 with 173 for nine against Kent. From 62 or four, that’s a superb recovery from Hampshire. Will Smith and Coles supported Ervine wonderfully with 37 and 29 respectively.

Tom Smith traps Matt Machan lbw for 28 and Sussex are 66 for four, needing 73 from 48 balls.

8.15pm - Another one bites the dust. Birmingham and Lancashire leave Edgbaston with a point a piece. The weather stopped all four North Group games from garnering a result. The top six in the division failed to take to the field at all.

8.12pm - Chris Nash cuts Payne to Ian Cockbain at point for a 10-ball 25 and Sussex are 42 for three. These two are neck and neck, but there’s a drop of rain in the air.

8.09pm - Match abandoned at Grace Road - that's one hell of an escape for Northants Steelbacks after getting rolled for 82.

Claydon rearranges Ervine’s stumps three shy of 50 and Hampshire have two overs to add to 148 for eight.

8.01pm - Two in two for Kent! Chris Wood is run out and James Tredwell bowls Kyle Abbott as both fail to trouble the scorers. Hampshire’s recovery, lead by Sean Ervine’s 45 not out has taken some heavy damage.

Despite a toss taking place, there will be no game at Cardiff as Glamorgan versus Somerset is abandoned.

7.58pm - Another fine catch behind the timbers from Adam Rouse and Gloucestershire have a dream start. David Payne sends Luke Wells packing and the Sharks are four for two.

7.55pm - Will Gidman just showed great form with the bat and he has a huge breakthrough with the new ball. The all-rounder gets one seaming away from Luke Wright, who feathers behind for a duck.

7.45pm - Wonderful cameo from Graeme McCarter, who swats 16 from five ball and helps Gloucestershire post 138 for seven from their 15 overs. A very useful 26 not out from Will Gidman as well. This reduced-over contest at Bristol could end up being a bit of a thriller.

7.42pm - Ravi Bopara bowls Jason Roy for 29 and Surrey are 65 for three in the 10th over. This is devilishly tight stuff from Essex.

7.39pm - Into the final over at Bristol and the score is 118 for seven. Luke Wells held a steepler to remove Jack Taylor for zip and help Arafat end with 2-26.

7.35pm - Nash in the wickets now as Hamish Marshall is the latest Gloucestershire batsman to be caught in the deep. They’re 111 for six with two overs left.

7.30pm - Match abandoned between Durham and Notts without a ball bowled. A frustrating evening for two teams looking to advance their quarter-final prospects. They remain fifth and third respectively in the North Group.

7.27pm - Matt Machan takes a superb catch at long-off to remove Cockbain off Yasir Arafat. Advantage Sussex?

7.25pm - Scratchy stuff from Surrey as slow left-armer Tim Phillips sends down a maiden to Pietersen.

Another destructive hitter not having the best of times is Glenn Maxwell, who falls for 13 to Ben Harmison and Hampshire are struggling on 62 for four.

7.22pm - Well, that takes the gloss (Glos?) off Cockbain’s fifty as Benny Howell is run out going for a second. The hosts are well placed on 89 for four with 29 deliveries remaining but Sussex have dragged this back impressively.

7.17pm - Will Beer pins Adam Rouse lbw first ball and Gloucestershire are 81 for three. Ian Cockbain going brilliantly on 46 from 28.

Matt Salisbury bowls Steven Davies to bring Kevin Pietersen to the crease for Surrey.

Hampshire are three down as Mitchell Claydon has Jimmy Adams caught at the wicket.

7.13pm - Michael Carberry, whose new contract with Hampshire was confirmed today, was really starting to motor against old county Kent. But Stevens gets revenge after being taken for three consecutive fours and a six.

7.10pm - Match abandoned without a ball being bowled at New Road. North Group leaders Worcestershire share the points with Yorkshire. Unfortunately, the prospects do not look a whole lot better for the games at the Emirates Durham ICG and Edgbaston.

7.07pm - Could Northants be set to get out of jail? It’s raining heavily at Grace Road.

7.03pm - Excellent powerplay from Gloucestershire, with Ian Cockbain and Alex Gidman doing most of the damage as they bring up 49 for one from five overs.

Early breakthrough for Kent as talisman Darren Stevens has James Vince caught behind. Big wicket.

6.55pm - D’oh! It’s raining again at Worcester.

6.50pm - Chris Dent lobs a pull up to midwicket off Lewis Hatchett to depart for seven and Sussex have an early breakthrough.

6.46pm - At the SWALEC Stadium, Somerset win the toss and…yes, you guessed it… bowl.

It’s stopped raining at New Road, where there will be a 7.10pm inspection.

Gloucestershire take nine off the first over against Sussex.

6.41pm - That’s all she wrote - Northants Steelbacks all out for 82 as Olly Stone chops on to Shreck. The rangy seamer finishes with 3-13 and the Foxes are heavy favourites.

6.38pm - Kent are the fourth team to win the toss and field this evening. The Spitfires’ game against Hampshire looks like it will get away on time.

6.33pm - Raine joins Ireland on three wickets as Graeme White trudges back and the end is nigh for Northants.

6.30pm - Sussex skipper Chris Nash calls correctly and asks Gloucestershire to bat. It will be a 15-over game at Bristol.

6.25pm - O’Brien pouches a fourth as Ben Raine gets Steven Crook for 17. The all-rounder threatened a recovery of sorts in a stand of 21 with James Middlebrook… but the same combination does for him as well! The Steelbacks in disarray on 76 for eight.

6.11pm - If there’s no more rain we’re looking at a 6.45pm start for Gloucestershire against Sussex.

Northants are in big danger of failing to bat their overs. O’Brien’s gloves prove reliable again as Styris dismisses Ben Duckett. It’s 54 for six just before halfway.

6.07pm - Kyle Coetzer was the one batsman who looked to have settled for Northants but he becomes Ireland’s third victim. The seamer bowled through for superb figures of 3-19.

5.58pm - Could this be turning into a procession? Either way, it’s a ropey powerplay for Northants. Matt Spriegel gives returning wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien his second catch and Ireland a second wicket. The score is 40 for four.

5.51pm - More woe for Northants as Shreck accounts for Adam Rossington. 32 for three.

5.46pm - It’s been an impressive start from the Foxes, who now have Steelbacks dangerman David Willey back in the shed. Scott Styris holds on at mid-off and Anthony Ireland is the bowler celebrating. Northants are 26 for two after four overs.

5.30pm - Glamorgan against Somerset isn’t going to begin for another hour but that start time has also been delayed. Soggy scenes all over the place.

But we do have cricket at Grace Road and, after opening up with two wides, Charlie Shreck locks in his radar to have Richard Levi caught behind.

5.11pm - Leicestershire Foxes have won the toss and will bowl against Northants Steelbacks. The Grace Road showdown could be the only one of our four scheduled 5.30pm fixtures to start on time as the rain falls at Durham, Worcester and Bristol.

5.05pm - One of the most mouthwatering clashes on the agenda is Lancashire Lightning’s trip to face Birmingham Bears, pitting Pakistan stars Junaid Khan and Shoaib Malik against one another. Unfortunately, the rain is teeming down at Edgbaston ahead of a scheduled 6.30pm start.

5pm – Hello and welcome to our NatWest T20 Blast blog. Here are today’s fixtures:

North Group

Durham Jets v Nottinghamshire Outlaws, Emirates Durham ICG, 5.30pm start

Leicestershire Foxes v Northants Steelbacks, Grace Road, 5.30pm

Worcestershire Rapids v Yorkshire Vikings, New Road, 5.30pm

Birmingham Bears v Lancashire Lightning, Edgbaston, 6.30pm

South Group

Gloucestershire Gladiators v Sussex Sharks, Bristol, 5.30pm

Glamorgan v Somerset, the SWALEC Stadium, 6.30pm

Essex Eagles v Surrey, the Essex County Ground, 7pm

Kent Spitfires v Hampshire, the Spitfire Ground, 7pm

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