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Essex slump to leaders Somerset at Southend
7:39pm Sunday 31st July 2011 in Club cricket
Somerset strengthened their grip at the top of the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C table as they coasted to a six-wicket triumph over Essex at Southend.
Replying to a total of 140 for nine, they claimed success with 10.1 overs to spare.
It was not all plain sailing at the start of their innings, however. On a pitch that encouraged the spinners, run-making was never easy and Somerset lost three wickets before the 50 was raised.
Craig Kieswetter and Peter Trego fell to left arm spinner Tim Phillips while Marcus Tresco-thick drove off-spinner Tom Westley to mid-on where David Masters held a fine catch.
But Murali Kartik and Nick Compton put Somerset back in charge.
Without having to take risks, they kept the scoreboard ticking over at just under five an over while adding 66 to take the total to 113. The stand was broken when Kartik, having made 40, despatched Phillips to mid-off.
But Compton and James Hildreth, with 29 and 18 not out respectively, made sure victory was claimed without further problems. Phillips finished with three for 28 from seven overs.
Essex never threatened to post a challenging total after winning the toss.
They lost openers Mark Pettini and Adam Wheater with only six on the board and by the end of the 10th over had scored only 22 while suffering a further setback, the dismissal Owais Shah.
By then Essex were left relying heavily on Ravi Bopara to sustain them. The acting skipper was not found wanting in determination but the accuracy of the Somerset bowling ensured he was never able to break free.
Indeed, he only managed one boundary from his 61 deliveries during which he top-scored with 35.
Bopara departed when Jos Buttler took a fine low catch at mid-wicket when trying to force the pace against seamer Craig Meschede.
He was the only batsman in the top seven to get beyond 14 until Graham Napier, who struck the only six of the innings, went on to make 29.
All six bowlers used by Somerset got among the wickets, the most successful were the two left-arm spinners Kartik and Arul Suppiah who picked up two for 24 and two for 29 respectively from their allocation of eight overs.