Simon Harmer bedazzles Somerset as Essex prevail in rain-hit match-up

Simon Harmer bedazzles Somerset as Essex prevail in rain-hit match-up

Pepper, Wheater make light work of run-chase to hand Eagles victory on DLS method

Essex 151 for 4 (Pepper 55*, Wheater 49) beat Somerset 153 (Conway 53, Harmer 4-23) by six wickets (DLS method)

scored his maiden Vitality Blast half-century as Essex Eagles beat Somerset by six wickets on DLS to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the knockouts.
Pepper, in his 18th T20 appearance, struck a chase-perfect 55 off 35 balls, having put on 80 with for the third wicket.
had bedazzled Somerset as he claimed 4 for 24 - his second successive four-for - while New Zealander made it back-to-back half-centuries as he glued the innings of 153 together.

That was before Pepper and Wheater made short shrift of the run-chase to win with five balls to spare - and give the Eagles only their fourth T20 victory at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford, since the beginning of the 2018 season.

Somerset were stuck in by the Eagles on a hybrid pitch being used for the fourth time - a fact that made the proficiency of spin no surprise.

The visitors, on the back of chasing down 168 without losing a wicket against Kent Spitfires the previous evening, started off with stands of 30, 31 and 46 as they reached 77 for 2 at the half-way point - with Tom Banton caught at mid-on and Will Smeed sweeping Harmer to the square leg boundary.

Harmer then grabbed three wickets in an over - Lewis Goldsworthy caught at midwicket, Tom Lammonby lbw and Lewis Gregory chipping into the leg side - as Somerset lost seven wickets in 26 balls.

Ben Green skied Aron Nijjar, Craig Overton edged to short third man, Marchant de Lange was caught by Pepper running in from long on and Conway - having struck his fifty in 42 balls - picked out deep midwicket. From the last ball of the innings Sam Cook castled Max Waller to land on 153.

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Michael Pepper catches Marchant De Lange  Getty Images

After a delayed start to their innings, Wheater and Will Buttleman were both dropped before another rain break saw an over chopped off and the target revised to 148.

The rain subsided and saw Buttleman drill to backward point and Dan Lawrence fluffed his slog to long off to leave Essex in danger of collapsing on 35 for 2.

But Wheater and Pepper recovered with a brilliantly paced innings, which initially matched the DLS score before occasionally cutting loose to reach a 50 stand in 31 balls.

The partnership was eventually broken on 80 as Wheater was caught at short cover for 49 before de Lange pinned back Jimmy Neesham's leg stump.

Pepper was dropped with 15 still needed before cutting to bring up his fifty - with Ryan ten Doeschate smashing Jack Brooks for six over long on to win the match.