Essex and Hampshire triumph
A review of Friday's action in the NatWest Blast T20, including news of Essex's victory over Surrey in the South Group.
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Essex remain at the top of the Natwest T20 Blast South Group after clinching a five-wicket win over fellow pace-setters Surrey at Chelmsford.
Gary Wilson led the charge for the visitors with 63 off 44 balls as they posted a competitive 165 for four, with Ravi Bopara claiming two wickets.
But an unbroken second-wicket stand of 61 between Mark Pettini (42) and Tom Westley (38) laid the platform for the Eagles and an unbeaten 40 from Ryan ten Doeschate saw them home with nine balls to spare.
Hampshire cruised to a 47-run away win over South Group rivals Kent to cement their place in the qualification places.
Full value for their seventh win of the campaign, Hampshire posted a competitive 173 for nine then rolled over the misfiring Spitfires for 126 to win with eight balls to spare.
Hampshire's victory in Canterbury all but put paid to Kent's hopes of making the knock-out phase as they suffered a sixth defeat in 10 starts.
Ian Cockbain hit a 33-ball half-century as Gloucestershire beat Sussex by 13 runs at the County Ground to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.
A match reduced to 15 overs per side due to rain saw the hosts make 138 for seven after losing the toss, Cockbain hitting four fours and three sixes in his 52 in Bristol.
Sussex captain Chris Nash's decision to field first with more rain threatening backfired as his side ended up batting in near darkness as they were bowled out for 125 in the final over.
Leicestershire's faint hopes of reaching the quarter-finals were all but extinguished when rain denied them a great chance of victory against Northamptonshire at Grace Road in the North Group.
Frustratingly for the Foxes, they had produced their best performance in the field in the competition this season - by bowling the Steelbacks out for 82 runs in 16.2 overs - before the rain swept in and the game was abandoned without another ball being bowled.
Umpires Steve Garratt and Nigel Llong waited as long as they could before making the decision but, after an 8.05pm inspection, it was clear that even the required minimum of five overs to make it a match would not be possible.
Andrew Flintoff's possible return to competitive cricket after a five-year absence was washed out at Edgbaston.
The all-rounder, who made his last competitive appearance for England against Australia in the 2009 Ashes decider at The Oval, was included in Lancashire's squad for their North Division match against Birmingham Bears.
But the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled after rain began 90 minutes before the scheduled start and did not relent.
Three other matches were totally washed out with no play possible at New Road for Worcestershire against Yorkshire, Chester-le-Street where Durham were due to face Nottinghamshire or Cardiff for Glamorgan against Somerset.