Paul Grayson demanding no let up as Essex Eagles chase the point needed to secure home advantage in T20 Blast quarter-finals

Paul Grayson is hoping Essex will get the point they need to secure home advantage in the quarter-finals when they complete their away programme this weekend

Paul Grayson is hoping Essex will get the point they need to secure home advantage in the quarter-finals when they complete their away programme this weekend

First published in Sport

HEAD coach Paul Grayson is demanding no let up from his Essex Eagles team as they prepare for back-to-back T20 Blast matches this weekend.

Essex have already secured their place in the quarter-finals of the 20-over competition and Grayson is hoping they can secure the point they need to guarantee home advantage in the last eight stage.

The Eagles face Glamorgan this evening before coming back across the River Severn to complete their away programme against Gloucestershire on Sunday.

“We know that one point will guarantee us a home quarter-final but we want to keep our winning run going and finish top of the group,” said Grayson, whose team have won nine of their ten T20 Blast games this summer.

“Our target is to win 13 matches out of 14 and set a new record.

“Obviously, we’ve played really well, all the players have made such positive contributions towards our success in this competition and it’s important that we retain the confidence these performances have given us.

“We are in the quarter-finals and one win away from another finals day appearance but that’s for the future, at the moment, we are focussed on adding to our excellent record this season in this format of the game.”

The match at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff starts at 6.30pm and Sunday’s match at Cheltenham College begins at 2.30pm. Essex then return to Chelmsford for their final two South Group matches of the series.

Grayson hopes quarter-final home advantage will already be in the bag by then and added: “Winning becomes a habit and breeds confidence so it’s important we keep turning in good performances.

“That confidence factor spills over into other forms of the game. Our four-day cricket is improving all the time and the win over Hampshire the other day put us right amongst the promotion contenders in Championship cricket.

“So the mood in the camp is excellent and we are looking forward to these two NatWest T20 Blast matches this weekend and then the two home matches in front of our Chelmsford crowd next week.”

Essex squad: Mark Pettini, Jesse Ryder, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate, Ben Foakes, James Foster, Tim Phillips, Graham Napier, Matt Salisbury, Sajid Mahmood, Greg Smith, Kishen Velani.

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