Ravi Bopara hit a brilliant unbeaten double century against Leicestershire at Grace Road to take Essex into the semi-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy yesterday.
Watched by national selector Geoff Miller, the 23-year-old Essex all-rounder scored an unbeaten 201 off 138 balls with 18 fours and 10 sixes as the Eagles posted 350 for 5 having been 37 for 3 at one stage. It set a target Leicestershire never looked like reaching and they were dismissed for 232 in 41 overs giving Essex a crushing victory.
Bopara's innings was a record for Essex in one-day cricket and only the fourth double century scored in this competition. He could hardly have produced it at a better time having been named in England's squad for the one-day series against New Zealand, which starts a week on Sunday.
Matthew Hoggard made a triumphant return to action as Yorkshire reached the semi-finals with a six-wicket win over Gloucestershire at Bristol.
The England seamer picked up three of the first five wickets to fall to help restrict the home side to 201 all out. Hoggard finished with three for 26 from his 10 overs – his best one-day figures for nearly six years.
Then a battling half-century from Craig White and a more fluent 50 from Jacques Rudolph guided Darren Gough's side to victory with 5.5 overs to spare.
Wicketkeeper Steve Adshead had earlier registered his highest score for Gloucestershire in the competition to rescue them from a disastrous start although his efforts ultimately proved in vain. Adshead struck 71 off 73 balls to help Gloucestershire recover from 50 for 6 after they had been put in by Gough.