MICHAEL Pepper insists Essex Eagles are confident of success in the Vitality Blast this season.

Pepper scored a brilliant 101 to help Essex beat Middlesex by four wickets at the County Ground on Sunday.

And Pepper was delighted to play such a prominent part in Essex’s first Blast win of the season.

“It’s always nice to get a few away early, then I managed to kick on,” said Pepper.

“The pitch felt good and I managed to guess a few where they were going to bowl.

“I’m glad it came off but we’re confident.

“We know if we play our best cricket there’s not a team who can defend against us.”

Pepper was one ball quicker to his hundred than Graham Napier during his memorable 152 against Sussex back in 2008.

And Pepper was shocked by the statistic.

“That’s unbelievable I was able to do that,” said the 25-year-old.

“But it was just important for us to get back on the winning train.

“The way Coxy (Jordan Cox) and Critch (Matt Critchley) came in was brilliant.

“Coxy got his second or third ball away for six, it was incredible.

“Critch also kept the runs ticking.

“They couldn’t build any pressure and get on top of us by taking wickets.

“Now we’ve got a few days off and we can relax.”

But Essex’s fine display made it a tough evening for Middlesex who have now suffered back to back defeats in the competition.

And Max Holden, who top scored with 85 not out, was frustrated with how the game unfolded.

“It was a disappointing result,” said Holden.

“I think we left 10-15 runs out there.

“A par score here is around 220 and being ultra-critical of ourselves we could have eked out a few more runs.

“With the ball it is hard to over-analyse but Michael Pepper had an unbelievable day out.

“It was a great knock and when someone like that gets going on this ground it’s hard to stop them but we should have done better.”

However, Holden did spot signs of progress.

“It was definitely an improvement from Friday night,” said Holden.

“I feel like the way we’re trying to play there’s going to be an innings where it doesn’t quite work.

“But hopefully we can post more big scores like that.”

Middlesex are currently ninth in the table while Essex sit sixth with one win from three games.

Essex are back in action at home to Glamorgan on Friday.