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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Essex value to reach One-Day Cup final at Notts' expense

Eagles only lost one game in the group stages

Beil Wagner and Essex celebrate the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara in their win over Surrey
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One-Day Cup semi-final
Sky Sports 2, 1.30pm Friday

Essex look worth a wager to give themselves a chance of limited-overs silverware for the first time since 2008 by beating Notts in this One-Day Cup semi-final at Chelmsford.

The Eagles soared to the top of the South Group with seven wins out of eight and confidence in the camp must be high after they moved top of the Championship table – in their first campaign back in the top flight – on Monday when beating Surrey by eight wickets at Guildford.

Visitors Notts will be buzzing too after winning Tuesday’s amazing playoff, containing 834 runs, against Somerset at Taunton. They are favourites in the betting having won last year’s T20 Blast quarter-final battle and four of the teams’ last six 50-over meetings.

However, Tuesday’s clash could have been draining on the Outlaws, who relied upon a washed-out final fixture to pip Lancashire to the third qualification spot. Durham would also have qualified were it not for a two-point deduction imposed at the start of the season.

Notts’ three defeats in the North Group were to the other two qualifiers Worcestershire and Yorkshire plus Durham so apart from Somerset and Lancashire, their successes have been over section also-rans.

Essex’s one slip was by one run to Glamorgan in Cardiff, chasing 282, who lost out to Surrey by a no result. They also triumphed at Taunton – by a bigger margin than Notts of 72 runs in another high-scoring affair – and showed great nerve to win at The Oval, when reduced to 112-6 and 179-8 in pursuit of 211.

The Ford County Ground is a renowned partisan cauldron for day-night games and while Essex hammered Middlesex in front of their fervent fans, it bodes better that they managed to hold on for victories against Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Sussex when excellent totals were under threat.

Without any captaincy burdens, Alastair Cook looks a man reborn for the Eagles. He is fifth in the tournament runs list with 503 in eight innings and has made four scores of 50 or more on the spin. Ravi Bopata and Varun Chopra have racked up more than 300, while Tom Westley has more than chipped in with 282 and lower middle-order all-rounders Ryan ten Doeschate, Ashar Zaidi and Simon Harmer have made match-winning knocks.

Kiwi left-arm quick Neil Wagner leads the way with the ball for Essex with 13 wickets and Kolpak-South African off-spinner Harmer has ten but Matt Quinn, Jamie Porter and the all-rounders have all claimed key victims.

India are 1-2 beat Pakistan in Sunday’s Champions Trophy final at The Oval after beating Bangladesh by nine wickets on Thursday. Virat Kohli’s charges won the rivals' group-stage meeting by 124 runs.

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Alastair Cook looks a man reborn for the Eagles. He is fifth in the tournament runs list with 503 in eight innings
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