Essex looking for a win to book their place in One-Day Cup quarter-finals

Ravi Bopara has returned from England Lions duty. PIC: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTOS

Ravi Bopara has returned from England Lions duty. PIC: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTOS

First published in Sport

ESSEX host Hampshire in the One Day Cup today knowing a win would put them into the quarter-finals.

The Eagles go into the game at Chelmsford in high spirits following their outstanding victory in the clash with pace-setters Yorkshire at Scarborough on Monday.

The win allowed the Eagles to join Yorkshire at the head of the table with both teams now level on points although the White Rose county lead on the basis of wins recorded.

The five-wicket victory underlined the strength of the Eagles batting and that will be further boosted with the return of all-rounder Ravi Bopara from England Lions duty for whom he has been in outstanding form with the bat.

On Monday, he scored 106 for the Lions in their success against Sri Lanka A but now returns to county duty following completion of the Tri-series that also featured New Zealand A.

Though a win today would take Essex through to the quarter finals, head coach Paul Grayson is chasing two wins that he believes would give them home advantage in the last eight.

"The first challenge is to ensure we are in the last eight and if we get a home tie, so much the better," he said. "I'm not too bothered where we play or who because I believe we've shown that we are a side to be reckoned with in this format.

"I was delighted with the win at Scarborough after we had two rain-offs in the previous two matches. Yorkshire did score a few more runs than I would have liked after they upped their tempo in the last few overs and I knew we would want a few decent performances with the bat including a century from one or two of our guys. Tom (Westley) and Ryan (ten Doeschate) answered that call and we got home with some degree of comfort in the end.

"Hampshire will provide us with a good game. We have seen in the past that they are a very decent one-day side and I'm sure we are in for a terrific match. But we are playing some excellent cricket and we are all looking forward to carrying on that good work.

The Eagles have named a 13-man squad with Bopara returning whilst Reece Topley is rested.

Play starts at Chelmsford today at 2pm.

The final qualifying match for Essex takes place on Thursday, June 21 when they face Northants Steelbacks at Wantage Road.

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