Cricket: Round up - Burns is too hot to handle for leaders Essex

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The Independent Online
Hitting 83 from 90 balls, Mike Burns led the way as Somerset collected a four-wicket victory over leaders Essex in their AXA Life League game at Chelmsford yesterday.

Opener Burns achieved his best score in the competition to pave the way for a second triumph over Essex in the space of 48 hours, Somerset having won the Championship match between the two by 10 wickets.

Replying to the hosts' 209 for 9 total, Somerset reached their target with 16 deliveries to spare. Victory was never really in doubt after Burns and Piran Holloway had put together an opening stand of 88 in 15 overs.

Holloway then departed for 37 but Burns, who hit off-spinner Peter Such for three sixes, defied all attempts to remove him until Somerset were on the verge of victory. He was finally caught behind off Mark Ilott having also hit three fours, leaving Keith Parsons to seal victory with another six off the suffering Such.

Burns had also performed admirably in the role of medium pacer while returning 2 for 28 from six overs. But it was leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed who proved the most successful bowler with 3 for 36 including the valuable wicket of Stuart Law, who made 43 from 36 balls.

It needed a brilliant diving catch by Parsons at short mid-wicket to remove Law and the same fielder produced another spectacular effort, this time at backward point, to dismiss Paul Grayson.

Hampshire captain John Stephenson guided his team to only their second Sunday win of the season as they beat Durham by six wickets at Chester- le-Street. Taking 4 for 28, he restricted the home side to 162 for 9 and then, surviving a simple chance to Mike Roseberry at mid-wicket when on 10, he scored 38 not out to see his side home with three overs to spare.

Hassan Raza showed why Pakistan thrust him into the international arena at the age of 14 with an impressive exhibition of batting at Derby. The youngest player to appear in a Test match is now 15, but demonstrated a maturity far beyond his years until he fell four short of a richly deserved century.

Raza followed his first-innings 56 by defying a Derbyshire attack which included England pace bowlers Devon Malcolm and Phillip DeFreitas for four and a half hours. His offside strokeplay was of the highest quality and no one would have begrudged him his century had Kevin Dean not trapped him lbw as he went half forward.

Raza apart, Pakistan A's batting was fragile and they were in trouble at 12 for 3 after Derbyshire had trimmed the tourists' first-innings lead to 21.

Although opener Adrian Rollins went to the first ball of the day, Malcolm struck some telling blows as the county took their score on to 148.

Malcolm then had Mujaid Jamshed caught at first slip, DeFreitas pinned Ali Naqvi lbw and skipper Mohammad Wasim edged to the wicketkeeper before Raza quietly took control.

The tourists eventually recovered to make 201 and needing 223 for victory, Derbyshire were 19 without loss at the close to set up the prospect of a tight finish on the final day.

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