Benkenstein’s Composure Leads Essex to Victory Against Glamorgan in Vitality Blast 2024

Luc Benkenstein showcased composure amid Mason Crane’s impactful performance, guiding Essex to a thrilling victory against Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast.

This match report delves into Benkenstein’s crucial role, the standout performances, and the tense moments that defined the game.

Benkenstein’s Composure Leads Essex to Victory Against Glamorgan in Vitality Blast 2024
Adam Rossington led Essex in scoring with 48 before going into a severe collapse. Getty Images

Glamorgan 165 for 8 (Ingram 52, Sams 3-28, Walter 3-33) lost to Essex 168 for 8 (Rossington 48, Benkenstein 35*, Crane 4-25) by two wickets.

The 19-year-old son of Lancashire’s head coach Dale Benkenstein entered as Essex needed 61 from 56 balls, but they were in the middle of a massive collapse that saw seven wickets go in 31 balls thanks to Mason Crane’s Blast-best four for 25. However, the No. 9 helped Shane Snater, who took 20 as well, and him to an unbeaten 35 off 21 to chase down 165 with eight balls remaining.

After four matches, both sides have two victories, but it wasn’t enough as Colin Ingram resumed his Essex dominance with 52 wickets shared by Paul Walter and Daniel Sams.

To begin the innings, Eddie Byrom was put in and bowled by Sams while attempting a ramp; it was the first of three wickets for the Australian. After six overs, Glamorgan were down to 31 for two, and things didn’t get any better when Sam Northeast steered to a short third.

But they rallied in the middle overs, with Kiran Carlson hitting Simon Harmer for two straight sixes. Ingram then took the South African by surprise, taking 35 off the spinner’s second two overs.

Having put on 63 apiece, Carlson and Marnus Labuschagne fell quickly after, the latter handing Walter the first of his three for 33. Ingram and Chris Cooke then carried the momentum with 48 for the fifth wicket. Ingram has historically posed a threat to the Eagles. Between 2015 and 2018, he had hammered two hundreds and two fifties against them, but had been quite quiet after that.

In addition to reaching 548 T20 runs against Essex with a brilliant half-century off of 28 balls, he spurted back into action and, more importantly, guided his team to a barely respectable 166 for eight.

Before settling into his range with some thunderous blows, Rossington swiftly went past the three runs required for Essex to reach 500 T20 runs and the nine to hit 3,000 in all T20s. Before Jamie McIlroy struck his stumps, Dean Elgar was given a life on two, but not before he had been the focal point of a 43-run partnership with Rossington.

Also Read: Dominant Durham led by Lees Secure First Vitality Blast 2024 victory Against Leicestershire

With Elgar gone, Michael Pepper, the centurion from last week, was free to go, and he didn’t waste any time picking up where he left off against Middlesex. In a 23-run over that included five overthrows, Timm van der Gugten took the brunt of the hitting, scoring three fours and a six.

However, with six wickets in 19 balls, Hampshire loanee Crane and Labuschagne’s leg-spinning combination changed the tide. Before Jordan Cox and Michael Pepper tumbled in the same Crane over, Labuschagne had Rossington caught as soon as he attempted to reach his fifty, and Carlson then brilliantly caught Paul Walter.

After Sams hit him too hard, Matt Critchley was helpless to stop Crane, who scored four goals out of twenty-five.

Labuschagne caught and bowled Harmer following a wicketless over, but Benkenstein utilized his cricket acumen to navigate his team out of trouble by avoiding taking any risks. After he placed his six instead of bludgeoning it over the ropes, he and Snater went on to win in a 45-run stand.

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