Dean Elgar Shines as Essex Dominates Hampshire in Vitality Blast 2024 Victory

Dean Elgar’s undefeated sixty-wicket innings led Essex to a convincing eight-wicket win over Hampshire at the Vitality Blast at Taunton.

Jordan Cox and Michael Pepper both made noteworthy contributions to Elgar’s innings, which helped the team to chase 167 with 20 balls remaining.

Dean Elgar Shines as Essex Dominates Hampshire in Vitality Blast 2024 Victory
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hampshire 166 for 7 (Weatherley 48, Fuller 39*, Allison 3-39) lost to Essex 170 for 2 (Elgar 60*, Pepper 44, Cox 41*) by eight wickets.

With his third Vitality Blast fifty, Dean Elgar displayed all of his variations, helping Essex secure a commanding fourth-place finish.

When chasing 167, South African Elgar never seemed concerned thanks to his 60 not out, Adam Rossington’s blistering 18 and Michael Pepper’s swaggering 44 off 24 and Jordan Cox’s slow-burning unbeaten 41.

As in last year’s rain-affected semi-final, Joe Weatherley had stoically struck 48, but a late James Fuller blitz of 39 off 16 had pulled Hampshire to a middling score.

Following their consecutive three-ball losses to deep square by Ben McDermott and James Vince, the Hawks appeared to be trapped in and paced their innings in an attempt to reach 160.

Throughout their 47-run partnership, Weatherley and T20 rookie Fletcha Middleton steadily increased their run total without ever seeming to be in a hurry.

One factor contributing to Hampshire’s tardiness during the powerplay was Simon Harmer’s pinpoint accuracy; in his four overs, the 100-year-old Essex player failed to give up a boundary.

But others took frequent wickets instead; Matt Critchley stopped Benny Howell and Toby Albert from getting going, and Paul Walter strangled Middleton down the legside to break that partnership.

Despite only scoring four boundaries in his 48 minutes, Weatherley never seemed to tire. The non-striker’s stumps were destroyed by a straight drive, depriving him of a half-century. Ben Allison, who finished with three wickets for forty-four, leg before wicket the next ball.

With 20 balls remaining and Hampshire at 117 for six, it appeared that they had undercooked their score, but Fuller came in and hammered some vital death over runs.

In the last three overs, he played the best hand, going for 14, 13, and 17 runs. Five of those runs came from him, and the total now appears to be approaching par.

Also Read: Wiaan Mulder Shines as Leicestershire Triumph Over Durham in Vitality Blast 2024 Thriller

With Liam Dawson out sick and missing a Hawks T20 after 43 consecutive appearances, Hampshire had an all-pace assault and discovered that the quicker you bowl, the more damage you cause.

Before the Australian picked up the pace and found Rossington chipping to mid-off, Adam Rossington began to validate that idea by hitting Michael Neser for six, six, four.

With his exquisite, risk-free striking, Elgar had already taken the lead quickly, swatting Chris Wood squarely back over his head for six.

Pepper more than matched his rate, although his fifty off 34 balls depended more on the thick middle of his bat than on wild or creative smashes.

In this season’s Blast, Pepper amassed a career-high 250 runs, even after he survived a three-ball collapse. However, his 80-run partnership with Elgar ended when the latter swished too far on.

In order to ensure that there would be no collapse and to put on an uninterrupted 59 with the never-surpassed Elgar, Cox showed no interest in the six-hitting of his predecessors.

After hitting two sixes off John Turner, he did open up with the winning post in sight. With 20 balls remaining, Cox won by eight wickets with a superb drive to the boundary.

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