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Essex seal thrilling win over Glamorgan in T20 Blast
Updated 5:57pm Sunday 25th May 2014 in Sport
Essex Eagles pulled off a dramatic victory over Glamorgan Dragons with two balls left of Friday night's T20 Blast South Division clash under the floodlights at the County Ground in Chelmsford.
Glamorgan had set a fast early pace, with Jacques Rudolph (63) and captain Jim Allenby (68) helping the Dragons post 189 for six.
New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder hit a quickfire 30 before Tom Westley (48), Ben Foakes (46) and James Foster (32) set up a tense final over, in which Greg Smith delivered a thrilling five-wicket victory with a six.
In a sign of what was to come, Glamorgan, put into bat after losing the toss, started brightly to pass 50 inside six overs.
South African left-hander Rudolph eventually holed out to long-off from the bowling of Ryder.
Jesse Ryder celebrates getting the wicket of Jacques Rudolph
The Eagles, who were missing players through a combination of injury and England call-ups and had captain Ryan ten Doeschate playing in the Indian Premier League, fought back with another quick wicket in the same over.
Ryder struck again in his final ball as Foakes held a fine catch at midwicket to dismiss Mark Wallace for a duck.
However, captain Allenby soon smashed a couple of sixes - one into the River Can - as, with support from Stewart Walters, the Welsh county headed into the final four overs at 153 without further loss.
Allenby reached 68 before he was bowled by Reece Topley and then Walters went on 36, with Chris Cooke (eight) following to Matt Salisbury's next delivery as Essex finally made some late headway.
Reece Topley celebrates the wicket of James Allenby
Essex's reply began well as Ryder smashed a huge six on to the roof of the overlooking flats at the Hayes Close End.
Glamorgan got an early breakthrough when acting captain Mark Pettini (five) edged Michael Hogan, just back from Australia, behind.
Essex were 44 for two after Ryder went for another big hit, this time off Will Owen, and was caught on the boundary by Walters.
However, Foakes and Westley kept the Eagles' run chase on at just over 10 an over with a fluid combination of boundaries and sixes to reach 97 at the half-way stage.
The partnership was ended in the 13th over when Westley was caught on the midwicket boundary.
Wicketkeeper Foster drove Allenby for 24 off the 15th over, two over the rope, before he was caught at third man off Hogan for a rapid 32 and Essex were 160 for four.
Foakes was bowled by Dean Cosker in the 18th over, but Smith then delivered a four followed by a six straight back over bowler Andrew Slater.
Kishen Velani (two) lost his stumps to Hogan, leaving five needed off the final over.
The match was tied before Smith made sure of a second straight T20 Blast win with another deep six through the River Stand.
Hogan took three for 30, while Allenby toiled at 56 off his 3.4 overs.