Pettini and Bopara sink Somerset
Mark Pettini and Ravi Bopara blasted half-centuries as Essex kept on course for the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals with a 65-run win over Somerset at Bath.
Pettini made 81 from 52 balls - with eight fours and three sixes - and Bopara cracked 72 from 42 deliveries - with eight fours and a maximum - as the visitors rattled up 209 for five.
Tim Phillips then took 4-22 and Ryan ten Doeschate claimed 3-18 as Somerset were bowled out for 144 with three balls unused.
It was Essex's second win in three days and the fourth-placed Eagles are now level on 14 points with second-placed Somerset, who were beaten for the second successive match.
Despite the disappointing result for the home fans, it was still entertaining for the 7,000 who turned up to watch Somerset's only game of the season at the Recreation Ground.
Essex raced along to 56 for two off the six powerplay overs after James Foster had won the toss.
Adam Wheater was the first to go, for 17, when he pulled leg-spinner Max Waller's first ball to Kieron Pollard at midwicket, and Tim Southee departed cheaply as he skied a slower delivery from Pollard to Lewis Gregory at mid-off.
Owais Shah fell for nine in the seventh over when he charged down the pitch to slow left-armer Arul Suppiah and was bowled.
Pettini and Bopara took the score on to 97 off 12 overs before both players opened their shoulders and started peppering the boundary boards.
All three of Pettini's sixes came after he had reached a 42-ball half-century. The first was pulled off Pollard and the next two were straight-driven off Murali Kartik, who got his revenge when Pettini fell to a diving catch by Peter Trego at long-off.
Bopara carried on the assault and brought up his 35-ball half-century in the 19th over. He then smashed Pollard for six over midwicket in the last over before he was run out by James Hildreth's throw from the deep with one ball left.
Somerset's reply began poorly as Phillips' off-spin accounted for skipper Marcus Trescothick - bowled - and Craig Meschede - caught at long-off - with only 12 runs on the board.
David Masters had Trego taken at mid-on for 16 and it became 68 for five when ten Doeschate dismissed Hildreth and Jos Buttler in his first over for 13 and 31 respectively.
Hildreth holed out to Pettini at long-on, and Buttler, who faced just 16 balls, skied a drive to Tom Craddock at deep cover.
West Indies star Pollard smashed 21 from 12 deliveries, but Somerset's hopes were all but ended when he played across a ball from Masters and was trapped in front.
Phillips returned to have Suppiah caught at midwicket and Lewis Gregory stumped.
Then, after Waller had been caught and bowled by ten Doeschate, the innings concluded when Steve Kirby was yorked by Southee.