Warwickshire underline title chase credentials with victory over fellow challenger Essex

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By Webdesk

Warwickshire Beat 242 (Rhodes 63, Hasan 53*, Bracewell 4-51) and 100 for 6 (Rhodes 29, Barnard 23*) Essex 126 (Westley 47, Hannon-Dalby 4-21, 4-28) and 215 (Harmer 50*, Hasan 4-48, Rushworth 4-62) by four wickets

Warwickshire underscored their LV=Insurance County Championship title chase credentials by taking a four wicket win over fellow challengers Essex in three days at Edgbaston.

The story of seam bowling dominance continued into the third day when Essex were bowled out in their second innings for 215. Chris Rushworth took advantage of favorable overhead conditions to finish 4 for 62 (8 for 90 in the match) , while Hasan Ali 4 for 48.

That left a victory target of 100 and as batting continued to be far from easy, Warwickshire had to work hard to get there, reaching 100 for 6 from 27.2 overs.

The skills of Rushworth and Hasan, expertly supported in the seam department by Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Ed Barnard, were the deciding factor in a fast-paced match that produced a result on the third day despite losing 41 overs to the weather on the first two.

A first defeat of the season came as a shock to Essex after their impressive display last week in a draw against champions Surrey.

Warwickshire’s third win in five games continued a strong start that far exceeded expectations after they narrowly avoided relegation last September.

After Essex resumed on the third morning at 86 for 4, still trailing by 30, the overnight pair of Matt Critchley and Michael Pepper took their sides up front, but neither lasted much longer as three wickets fell in 15 balls. Critchley slid Hasan to Rob Yates at first slip and Rushworth pinned Pepper lbw and had Doug Bracewell caught brilliantly by Sam Hain at second slip.

Simon Harmer, who scored an unbeaten fifty, and Shane Snater (31) attacked effectively to make sure they at least had something to bowl at, but the relentless team continued to whine. Snater was trapped by Hannon-Dalby, and Hasan had Sam Cook caught long legged and Jamie Porter slipped.

Warwickshire chased 100 in a minimum of 73 overs and had plenty of time, but Alex Davies tried to get the job done quickly and fell to Cook when he missed an attempt to send the ball into the River Rea.

The batting remained clumsy as the Essex seamstresses showed their skills. Yates pushed Porter into the cordon and when Bracewell produced two superb outcuts to remove Hain and Will Rhodes in three balls it was 65 for 4 and Essex had a glimmer of hope.

Dan Mousley and Barnard added an important 21 and although the dismissal of Mousley and Michael Burgess in consecutive overs left some home nerves ringing with 91 for 6, Barnard sent his team home with 23 not off 28 balls.

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