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Durham's YB40 hopes rocked by heavy defeat
DURHAM’S season is in danger of unravelling after they were unable to recover from a disastrous start in last night’s YB 40 match against Essex at Chelmsford.
After Mark Stoneman chose to bat he and Scott Borthwick departed in the first over without a run on the board and Paul Collingwood also failed to score as Durham slumped to nine for four.
They had selected a side which appeared top heavy with batting, but after staging a partial recovery to reach 116 for six the last four wickets went down for 22 runs.
Will Smith held things together sensibly with 53 off 78 balls but Durham were all out with 5.5 overs unused and Essex recovered from 30 for three to cruise to their target of 139.
A stand of 94 between Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate ended when only 15 were needed and the Dutchman’s unbeaten 72 off 64 balls saw his side to a six-wicket win in 26.3 overs.
Hampshire, who have a game in hand, took over top spot in group B from Durham after an easy win against Scotland in Glasgow.
The best second-placed team in the three groups will qualify for the semi-finals, but with two games left Durham’s chances now look slim.
Two weeks ago they were the only team with a chance of the treble, but the championship defeat at Lord’s was swiftly followed by the Twenty20 quarter-final exit at Northampton.
Batting second under floodlights did not appear to do Durham any favours at Wantage Road last week, which must have influenced the decision to bat first on a greenish surface last night.
There was also heavy cloud cover at the outset and Graham Napier found so much assistance from the pitch that in his third over he had figures of four for one.
Stoneman appeared to be deceived by the bounce as the second ball lobbed off the shoulder of his bat to mid-wicket, then three balls later Borthwick shaped to drive and edged to wicketkeeper James Foster.
Collingwood lost his leg and middle stumps via an inside edge off the fifth ball he faced as Phil Mustard scored all the first nine runs.
Five of those were off the edge, however, including the only run Napier conceded before he had Mustard caught by Foster, diving in front of first slip.
Smith drove the last ball of Napier’s third over for four through mid-on and followed up with a four through extra cover two overs later.
There was brief hope that Durham might recover as 14 runs suddenly came off three balls. Smith pulled Napier just out of mid-wicket’s reach for another boundary then the first two balls of the next over saw Ben Stokes drive a straight six and clip a four through mid-wicket off David Masters.
The introduction of two young left-arm seamers, however, quickly halted the fightback.
Stokes pushed very tentatively at Reece Topley’s third ball and lost his off stump to make it 41 for five, then Tymal Mills caused all sorts of problems for Smith, partly through his surprising pace.
Smith was beaten four times in an over before Mills went round the wicket and found the edge of Gordon Muchall’s bat, giving Foster his third catch.
Coming to the crease in the 18th over, Gareth Breese had heaps of time to build an innings rather than play the sort of brief cameo to which he has become accustomed.
He ticked along nicely in contributing 23 to a stand of 55 with Smith, but undid his good work by getting out carelessly to the last ball of the 29th over. He was bowled attempting a reverse sweep off the brisk medium pace of ten Doeschate.
There was still hope of a late flourish when Ryan Pringle hit Topley over mid-wicket for six as 12 came off the 33rd over.
But the last three wickets fell in six balls, Smith chipping Mills to mid-off before Mark Wood was lbw first ball and Pringle hit Napier straight to deep square leg, leaving the all-rounder with figures of five for 21.
Even though it was 7.25 when the Essex innings began conditions were much brighter than at the start, but there was still evidence of movement with the new ball.
Mark Pettini edged the first ball of the reply from Wood through the slips for four, but the youngster picked up two wickets to raise hopes with Essex on 30 for three.
New Zealand Test batsman Hamish Rutherford edged to Breese at slip then Pettini was lbw to Chris Rushworth before Wood bowled Greg Smith.
There were other half chances, with ten Doeschate edging to Breese’s fingertips off Stokes on six, while Bopara could have been run out on 22.
But it was not Durham’s night and after tomorrow night’s visit to Derby they will have six days to prepare for the hectic last five weeks of the season.
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