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Bichel boost for Essex

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Andy Bichel

Andy Bichel © Getty Images

Essex’s hopes of winning their first piece of silverware this season have been boosted by the news that overseas star Andy Bichel will be available for the Twenty20 Floodlit Cup final.

The Eagles face Derbyshire Phantoms at Derby on Friday night, with the all-rounder in their ranks after he delayed his return to Australia.

Bichel was due to fly home on Thursday, but he was cleared to stay at Essex for the remainder of the season by Queensland, his state side.

A sizeable crowd is expected at the County Ground for the showpiece, the result of which will decide who are crowned champions after the first leg of the final at Chelmsford was abandoned due to rain.

Grant Flower, Tony Palladino and Mervyn Westfield are added to the XI on duty in Wednesday's first leg, when only 13.5 overs were possible.

Bichel will also be available for Essex’s last NatWest Pro40 game of the season against Durham on Sunday, when victory will guarantee them the Division One title.

He is also set to feature in their final Liverpool Victoria County Championship match, against Leicestershire, with Essex requiring 18 points to make sure of promotion from the Second Division.

Essex chief executive David East said: “We are extremely grateful to Queensland Cricket for their co-operation in this matter.

“Andy has played a major role in our success this year since arriving in June and we hope he can continue that form through to the end of the season.”

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