A remarkable innings of 60 off 29 balls by Chris Cooke, who added 61 off the last 26 balls with Timm van der Gugten saw Glamorgan win – for the second year in a row – a last ball thriller at Chelmsford by two wickets.
As expected, Glamorgan juggled their line-up following Shaun Marsh's season-ending injury with Kiran Carlson slotting into the middle order and Aneurin Donald moving up to open. However, it was the usual bowling line-up with Andrew Salter delivering the opening over and being swept for four by Adam Wheater. Varun Chopra also cover drove Craig Meschede who shared the new ball before Wheater biffed him over mid-on for four.
The diminutive opener then drilled Timm van der Gugten through mid-off for four before pulling Michael Hogan for four. He continued to fit the ropes as he swatted van der Gugten to wide long-on, with Chopra then scooping the Dutchman to fine-leg, before perishing next over trying to repeat the stroke against Hogan with Salter taking a good catch running in from the boundary’s edge.
Next over, David Lloyd dislocated a finger diving to stop a drive from Tom Westley but next ball Wheater was deceived by a clever slower ball from Meschede and had his stumps re-arranged. 55/2 saw Ryan ten Doeschate make his way to the middle and he began by smearing Meschede through point for four. Lloyd then returned to the field as Colin Ingram and Graham Wagg bowled in tandem, with ten Doeschate lofting Ingram for a straight six.
The third wicket pair continued to strike one’s and two’s before Westley pulled Wagg for four and ten Dosechate plonked Meschede over wide long-on for six to bring up the hundred, followed by a rasping square-drive for four and another straight six. Lloyd then entered the attack and with his third ball removed Westley who was well caught by Carlson at deep square-leg. 117/3 saw Ravi Bopara join his captain and he began by flicking Lloyd to the ropes at fine-leg, before scampering some singles with ten Doeschate.
But the pair attempted to sneak a second to Meschede at third man as Bopara was run out, and 134/4 immediately became 134/5 as ten Doeschate drilled the next ball from Wagg into Ingram’s hands at deep extra-cover. On 139 Wagg struck again as Dan Lawrence lofted the left-armer into Lloyd’s hands running along the cover boundary.
Simon Harmer lofted van der Gugten for six over mid-wicket in the penultimate over before losing his off stump, whilst Neil Wagner also flayed the Dutchman over mid-wicket for six, before Hogan bowled Adam Zampa in the final over and Wagner clubbed the seamer to wide long-on. But Lloyd ran out both Wagner and Jamie Porter off the final two balls of the innings as the Essex Eagles were dismissed for 167.
Usman Khawaja and Aneurin Donald began Glamorgan’s reply with the former pulling Sam Cook for four before the latter lofted Cook for six over wide mid-wicket. Khawaja found the ropes again as he then pulled Porter before hitting him on the up through mid-off followed by a coruscating flick to deep square-leg for the third four in the over.
The Australian then straight drove Cook for four before Donald carved him through point, with next over Khawaja driving Wagner through mid-on before under-edging a short ball from the Kiwi into the wicket-keeper’s gloves with Glamorgan losing their first wicket on 42.
Ingram joined Donald as Zampa joined the attack, and the Australia claimed the prized wicket of the Glamorgan captain with his sixth delivery as he swept a ball to Chopra at short fine-leg. 46/2 then became 50/3 as Lloyd was bowled by the Australian leg-spinner, before Carlson began with some deft nurdles and a firm cover drive against Harmer who was also lofted by Donald for six over long-off. The young tyro had a life as Chopra spilled a catch at square-leg, and in so doing saw the ball spill out of his hands for four.
Donald celebrated his good fortune by drilling Wagner for four, but he perished next ball as he swatted the Kiwi high to the fielder at deep mid-wicket. 80/4 saw Carlson and Cooke join forces with the former running Wagner for four through backward point and then lofting Bopara over extra-cover as the task became 68 from 42 balls. But Glamorgan’s hopes took a blow as Carlson scythed Cook to third man where Zampa pouched the ball.
His departure saw the arrival of Wagg who square-cut Cook for four but after another single the combative all-rounder inside-edged a ball from Bopara onto his stumps. 107/6 immediately became 107/7 as Salter was bowled first ball by Bopara. Zampa then returned to bowl Meschede before Cooke struck the evening’s biggest six, scything over mid-wicket to leave the Welsh county needing 43 off 18 balls.
Cooke responded by harpooning Wagner for six over mid-wicket and after a couple of swift singles, Cooke swatted the Kiwi high over square-leg for another six. He then clipped the next ball to mid-wicket for four before running a single in an over which cost 19 runs and reduced the task to 24 off 12 balls. Cooke then clubbed Bopara through mid-off for four before further scampered singles followed by another six to deep square-leg and then a single to complete a 24-ball fifty as Glamorgan entered the final over needing 11.
Cooke smeared a single to point off the first ball before running a bye off a wide by Wagner. He then swatted a two just over cover followed by a single to mid-off, with the task being five off three balls. Van der Gugten then clipped a single to square-leg before driving a two to mid-on. Wagner then bowled a wide to bring the scores level before Cooke swatted a four just over the head of the fielding at mid-wicket to clinch a stunning victory