Bravo to zero with no mercy for mercenary

Essex 156-7 Hampshire 157-4 <i>(Hampshire win by six wickets)</i>
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It will not go down as one of the great gambles of all time. Whichever way you look at it, £10,000 for five runs and four highly expensive overs hardly adds up to value for money – and the Essex captain, James Foster, knew he would be left trying to justify the short-term signing of Dwayne Bravo once Hampshire had gained ample revenge for two South Group defeats earlier this summer.

Bravo, the West Indian all-rounder, looked like a man not quite sure of his surroundings while failing with bat and ball. Hardly surprising, really, considering he flew in from the Caribbean just a few days ago.

"Unfortunately, when anyone goes on to a cricket field you cannot guarantee they will take six wickets or score 80 runs," said Foster after Essex had lost a T20 semi-final at the Rose Bowl for the second time in three years. "Unfortunately, it did not quite work out for Dwayne but I think it was the right move [to play him]."

Bravo was signed purely for Finals Day – and reportedly paid around £10,000 – as a like-for-like replacement for Scott Styris, who was needed by New Zealand. But he never had a chance to show what he could do with the bat, being brilliantly run out by a direct hit from Chris Wood when attempting a second. Then he was taken to the cleaners by Hampshire's big hitters. Jimmy Adams and Sean Ervine hoisted him for sixes as county cricket's newest, and briefest, recruit went for 46 runs.

Essex had looked on course for a commanding score while Alastair Cook, relishing a break from his Test troubles, and Mark Pettini were putting on 79 for the first wicket. But once they were parted, the 19-year-old spinner Danny Briggs turned the screw with a terrific three-wicket spell. Hampshire always looked in control of the run-chase, although they were grateful for the cool head and quick running of England candidate Michael Carberry to see them home with four balls to spare.

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