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Pettini and Walker inspire Essex chase

Friends Life t20

Gareth Cross & Mark Pettini

Opener Mark Pettini guides Essex towards their target of 184 in an alliance worth 147 with number three Matthew Walker

Essex Eagles pulled off a thrilling eight-wicket victory over Lancashire Lightning at Chelmsford to book their place at Friends Provident t20 finals day.

Replying to a formidable 183 for six, Essex got home with five deliveries to spare.

Mark Pettini and Matthew Walker were their heroes, coming together after Ravi Bopara had fallen cheaply in the third over as they shared in a stand of 147 in 15.2 overs.

Pettini struck 81 from 56 balls with the help of seven fours and one six, while Walker plundered four sixes among his eight boundaries in making an unbeaten 74 from 49 deliveries.

It was a superb exhibition of controlled aggression by the pair to take Essex to glory.

The partnership was broken when Sajid Mahmood bowled Pettini with the last ball of the 18th over, but it only heralded the arrival of skipper James Foster to smash Glen Chapple for three successive fours in scoring 16 from only five balls.

It all added up to a miserable night for Lancashire, who were left reflecting on a third successive Twenty20 quarter-final defeat.

And to add to their woes, Stephen Moore is likely to be out of action for some time.

He finished up visiting hospital after dislocating his shoulder when diving at deep square-leg in a vain attempt to cut off one of Walker’s boundaries.

To compound a terrible night for Moore, he was also trapped lbw by the first ball of the game - from David Masters.

Lancashire, to their credit, were to overcome that setback by adopting a positive approach.

Paul Horton top-scored with 44 from 30 balls, Mahmood gathered 34 from 17 deliveries and the veteran Chapple needed only 14 balls to collect an unbeaten 28.

Chris Wright was the Essex bowling star, the paceman including Horton and Mahmood among his victims en route to figures of 4-25 from four overs.

Masters also proved economical with only 26 coming from four overs, but Maurice Chambers was expensive going for 51 in as many.