Tim Phillips hit his best-ever one-day score to help Essex to victory
A fine all-round display from Tim Phillips led Essex to a thrilling two-wicket win over Pro40 title contenders Somerset at Taunton.
Left-arm spinner Phillips took 5-38 to help bowl out Somerset for a below-par 205, then hit 41 off 35 balls as Essex recovered from 12-3 to reach 206-8.
John Maunders also starred with 78 as Essex won with five balls to spare.
The result means that Sussex will seal the Pro40 League if they win their final fixture against Worcestershire.
With Essex 91-3 and well behind on Duckworth/Lewis, a high wind threatened to end the game because it was rocking the floodlight pylons. But it dropped in the nick of time for Essex, who went on to record a third Pro40 win in six days.
Phillips destroyed the Somerset middle order after they had made a confident start - having lost the toss. But it could have been even better for Essex if they had not dropped five catches in a wretched fielding display.
Varun Chopra paid the heaviest price for dropping Marcus Trescothick on nought in the covers off Graham Napier.
Trescothick went on to top score with 42, bowled by a perfect Graham Napier yorker. And Chopra split the webbing on a hand and had to be replaced by substitute fielder David Masters.
But James Foster also missed a couple of chances behind the stumps, and the Essex ground fielding was poor.
Kieswetter and Justin Langer succumbed to full-tosses, and James Hildreth was stumped off a Phillips wide.
Peter Trego and Zander de Bruyn got starts without being able to go on to the major score Somerset needed, as Phillips got the ball to turn on a dry pitch.
He removed Hildreth, Langer, Trego, de Bruyn and Alfonso Thomas - while Arul Suppiah was run out after Chris Wright recovered well from a misfield.
Essex then looked to be plunging to defeat when Alastair Cook, Napier and Mark Pettini all went in the opening overs. But Foster (38) and Maunders started the recovery with a fourth-wicket stand of 86.
Then, after Chopra - batting despite his injury - fell cheaply to make it 123 for six, Phillips came in to clinch the man-of-the-match award.
After making his best-ever one-day knock, Phillips was run out with 16 still needed, but youngsters Chris Wright and Mervyn Westfield saw their side home.
Essex's man of the match, Tim Phillips, told BBC Essex:
"It was crash, bang, wallop throughout, with Trescothick and Kieswetter getting them off to a flyer.
"Then the top of our innings was quite the opposite, being three down quite quickly.
"But fortunately we've rallied really well with both bat and ball throughout the game and just snuck over the line at the end."
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