Cook and Styris in fine form as Essex get better of champions

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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook is not a Twenty20 player. That's the thinking, anyway, behind his exclusion from England's team for the shortest form of the game but anyone who has seen him in Friends Provident Twenty20 action over the past few weeks would beg to differ.

Cook was at it again last night, striking 63 as Essex beat Sussex by five wickets. The Test opener has formed what might be the best T20 opening partnership in the country – with all due respect to Marcus Trescothick and Craig Kieswetter – with Ravi Bopara and they got Essex off to a fast start in pursuit of a total of 186 to win.

He was eventually out when Yasir Arafat, that wily old T20 head, caught him off the bowling of Will Beer, his younger but by no means guileless team-mate. It was thanks to the slow bowling of Beer and England's Michael Yardy that Essex's promising chase stuttered before Scott Styris hit a quickfire 52 not out to seal victory.

Warwickshire will play at home in the quarter-finals after Worcestershire subsided following a mid-afternoon downpour at Edgbaston. Batting first, Warwickshire made 112 for four in their 15 overs (Jonathan Trott hit an unbeaten 53) and Worcestershire were always behind the asking rate in reply.

Their openers Vikram Solanki and Sanath Jayasuriya were out in the first two overs and it was only thanks to 35 from 30 balls by Alexei Kervezee that they mustered 103-7 in admittedly difficult batting conditions.

A crowd of 6,000 saw Somerset clinch a home quarter-final at Taunton as the West Country side secured a six-wicket victory over local rivals Gloucestershire. The South Division leaders chase down a target of 153 with 3.1 overs to spare, Peter Trego hitting 46 off 17 balls and Zander de Bruyn making 37.

Gloucestershire's 152 for nine was built around 45 from Hamish Marshall, but Kieron Pollard (three for 36), Alfonso Thomas (two for 21) and Trego (two for 29) restricted the home side after a bright start.

Somerset's reply got off to a bad start when Marcus Trescothick was bowled by Steve Kirby, who typically sent the former England opener on his way with a few choice words. He would have found plenty more to swear about at the end as Peter Trego's 46 saw Somerset home.