Tsotsobe comes good

Yorkshire Bank

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James Foster

James Foster put Essex on course for victory with 77 from 76 balls during a 135-run stand with Ravi Bopara, who finished 75 not out

Lonwabo Tsotsobe produced his best performance of the season to inspire Essex to a seven-wicket victory over Lancashire in their Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C duel at Chelmsford.

The South Africa paceman, who looked to continue his erratic form by conceding 13 in his opening over, recovered to emerge with figures of 4-43 from 7.4 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 190.

It was never enough to test Essex who, after losing two early wickets, won with 35 deliveries to spare following half-centuries from skipper James Foster and Ravi Bopara - the latter’s unbeaten

Following the brisk start given to them by Stephen Moore and Karl Brown, Lancashire will have been bitterly disappointed to have been bowled out in the 37th over.

The openers looked completely at ease as they proceeded to 87 in the 14th over - but then left-arm spinner Tim Phillips struck to have Moore taken low down at backward point by Graham Napier for 45.

Tsotsobe then claimed the first of his wickets when Brown drove to cover for 47, Jaik Mickleburgh holding on to a firmly struck drive.

From then onwards, Lancashire completely lost their way as wickets fell at regular intervals.

In between Tsotsobe inflicting further damage, Bopara struck twice in an over to trap Paul Horton in front and bowl Farveez Maharoof.

After the first pair were dismissed only Gareth Cross and Luke Procter, with 24 each, managed to reach double figures.

Bopara finished with 3-49 from eight overs and Phillips collected 2-32 from as many.

Lancashire spirits were briefly lifted when they quickly got rid of Essex’s openers.

Mark Pettini departed leg before to Sajid Mahmood and Alastair Cook, having made 17, swung the same bowler into the hands of Procter at deep square-leg.

But then Bopara and Foster, who scored fifties in the victory over Nottinghamshire by the same margin yesterday, took charge.

Without the need to take risks they put on 135 in 24 overs before Foster was stumped by Cross off Simon Kerrigan for 77 that occupied 76 balls and contained nine fours.

Bopara, who enjoyed a life on 17 when Cross put down a catch, finished unbeaten on a 75 that spanned 81 deliveries and included just five boundaries.