ESSEX captain Ryan ten Doeschate has demanded his team take full advantage of playing at home when they take on Gloucestershire Gladiators at Chelmsford tonight in the T20 Blast.
The Eagles secured a fine six-wicket win over Kent at Canterbury on Wednesday night to cement their place at the top of the South group table with Hampshire.
The Royals travel to lowly Somerset and start at 5.30pm, with Essex commencing their game at 90 minutes later looking to bag their fifth win in six in the 20-over competition.
And ten Doeschate wants his players to capitalise on the passion of the home crowd to boost their chances of defeating seventh-placed Gloucestershire.
“In the past, our home ground was considered as something of a fortress and we would like to rediscover that identity,” the Dutch international said.
“The victory against Kent Spitfires showed once again that we are capable of chasing sizeable targets and it’s the fourth time we’ve done that this season.
"However, I do believe that we are also capable of defending scores although that hasn’t been put to the test yet."
It is only Essex's second home game in the compeitition - the first was a four-wicket win over Glamorgan on May 23 - and ten Doeschate is hoping the Eagles will draw on their performance against Kent.
The skipper thought Essex were "down a little" on their bowling in the first 10 overs of Kent's innings.
But he said the positive was his side bowled very well for the second half of the Spitfires' knock, which saw them post 189-5.
Ravi Bopara led the Essex run chase with an unbeaten 81, with ten Doeschate adding 47 as the Eagles replied with 193-4 off 19 overs.
“With our batting line-up, you would always fancy us to chase a big total," added ten Doeschate.
"When someone takes responsibility like Ravi did then you only need two or three cameos from elsewhere to win the game.
“We feel that we have some very good batters with Fozzy [James Foster] coming in at seven and that gives everyone the freedom to play and keep going at a high tempo.
" I know that we will come unstuck once or twice in the campaign but we are trying to play an exciting and entertaining brand of cricket which I think is our strength.”
Tonight's match at the Essex County Ground starts at 7pm. with the gates opening at 5pm. Tickets will be available on the gate.
Essex Eagles squad: Mark Pettini, Jesse Ryder, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate (captain), Ben Foakes, James Foster (wicketkeeper), Tim Phillips, David Masters, Tymal Mills Reece Topley Greg Smith Matt Salisbury.