Ryan ten Doeschate paid tribute to Essex team-mate Tim Phillips after the left-hander inspired the Eagles to a thrilling two-wicket victory over Middlesex Pathers in the NatWest T20 Blast at the Essex County Ground.
In a tense finale, Phillips thumped four sixes, two of them in the final over, in his 33 not out off 13 balls as Essex overhauled their 154 victory target with just two balls to spare.
Essex T20 captain ten Doeschate believes the knock is a small reward for all the hard work Phillips has done over the winter.
He told ecb.co.uk: "I'm delighted for Tim. He's been around for a hell of a long time playing one-day cricket for Essex. He's always threatens to do something fantastic but he's a general contributor.
"He's a guy who comes in and does his work. We've wanted to give him the opportunity, we've wanted to push him, he's gone away in the winter and he's done a lot of work, and tonight in a small way is testament to the effort he's put in.
"We need game winners all the time and if your number eight can win your games then that is a fantastic effort."
Phillips and ten Doeschate, who contributed a valuable 34 off 28 balls, appeared on course to carry the hosts over the line but when the captain fell in the penultimate over, it was left to the 33-year-old to lead the victory charge.
Phillips added: "There were a few nerves floating around but we're quite a confident side and we back ourselves to get over the line.
"Fortunately we had a platform to go at and we had a bit of a licence to take it on in that situation.
"This is a sort of situation that you practice for. We played very well and it was great to get over the line."