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Bopara double ton sees Essex home

FRIENDS PROVIDENT TROPHY
Leicester: Essex 350-5 (50 overs) beat Leicestershire 232 all out (41 overs) by 118 runs


Ravi Bopara pulls a short ball for six
Bopara's double ton is only the eighth in one-day cricket history

Ravi Bopara smashed a record double century as Essex cruised to a 118-run win over Leicestershire in the Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final.

The England all-rounder's 201 not out came off just 138 balls at Grace Road as he became the first Essex batsman to score 200 in a limited overs match.

Bopara shared a fifth-wicket stand of 190 with James Foster (61), helping Essex to 350 off 50 overs.

And a fine bowling display saw the visitors dismiss the home side for 232.

Bopara's innings - which included 18 boundaries and 10 sixes - was observed by England national selector Geoff Miller, who will have noted his confidence and dominance at the crease.

The 23-year-old - who was dropped from the Test team after a disastrous series against Sri Lanka last December - ensured his name is etched in Miller's thoughts for England's one-day squad to face New Zealand in the one-day series, which starts on 15 June.

"It was a fantastic knock," said Miller. "From the position Essex were in it was a perfect one-day innings."

Bopara told BBC Sport: "I heard a rumour he was about just before I went into bat.

"It's always nice to get in front of him, hopefully it will live in his memory for a while. I've just got to wait until next week and see how it goes.

"I have realised when you get hundreds, you have got to go big and take it to 180, 190 or double. I'm enjoying my batting and I'm hungry for runs."

Bopara's score is only the fifth ever double century to be scored in a one-day match featuring county sides.

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His innings was made the more remarkable considering Essex were struggling at 37-3.

South African new ball pair Garnett Kruger and Dillon du Preez caused plenty of problems early on, dismissing Essex's top three of Jason Gallian, Mark Pettini and Varun Chopra.

But Bopara, ably assisted by Foster, soon cut loose, bringing up his century off 85 balls.

And he brought up his 200 in style, smashing a six over extra cover off Nadeem Malik from the penultimate over of the innings, surpassing Graham Gooch's previous best mark of 198 in a one-day game.

A massive target of 351 always looked beyond Leicestershire and their innings began badly when Alex Tudor removed South African pair HD Ackerman (4) and Boeta Dippenaar (18) to leave the Foxes struggling at 34-2.

A fourth-wicket stand of 104 between Matt Boyce (57) and captain Paul Nixon (62) raised Leicestershire's spirits.

But Bopara had the last word by taking two wickets with successive deliveries to see Essex through to the semi-finals with nine overs to spare.




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