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Pettini, Bopara inspire Essex victory

Bopara played a fine cameo knock
Bopara played a fine cameo knock

Mark Pettini's unbeaten 95 and a quickfire 45 from Ravi Bopara saw Essex Eagles home against Middlesex Panthers in the first match of the NatWest Double Header at Lord’s.

Set a tough target of 181, the Eagles wasted no time exercising their control of the game by firing on all cylinders from the first ball.

Captain Pettini was instrumental in the victory as he notched his half century in 23 balls - hitting 14 fours and a six in an impressive innings.

England captain Alastair Cook scored 22 and helped put his team into a commanding position at 71 without loss at the end of the powerplay.

Jesse Ryder added 15, before England International Ravi Bopara joined the fray before hit the winning runs.

Middlesex’s bowling couldn’t stem the flow of the Essex attack, but Ravi Patel took two wickets claiming both Cook and Ryder through catches from Eoin Morgan and Toby Roland-Jones.

The Panthers batted first after Essex won the toss, and scored 180/5 off their 20 overs.

Dawid Malan was the star of the show for Middlesex as he scored an unbeaten 86 off of 57 balls, while new one-day captain Eoin Morgan hit a rapid 77 off 43 balls including nine fours and four sixes.

The match was one to forget for new signing Dan Christian, who was bowled for a duck on his T20 debut for the Panthers.

Reece Topley took three wickets, while Oliver Newby and Graham Napier grabbed one each.

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