County cricket round-up: Goodwin's quick fix guides Sussex into semi-finals

Francois du Plessis put the holders Essex to the sword as he steered Lancashire into the semi-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy with a 71-ball century, the fastest of the English summer so far.

The South African broke his own 76-ball record set against Derbyshire earlier in the competition, going from 50 to 100 in only 19 balls to fire his side to 262 for 6 off 50 overs.

He hit five fours and seven sixes to help to rack up 121 runs off the last 12 overs, including 63 runs off the five overs of batting powerplay. He finished unbeaten on 113 off 75 balls.

The left-arm spinner Gary Keedy ended any doubt that it would be Lancashire facing Hampshire in the last four on 5 July by taking 4 for 45 as Essex were bowled out for 195 with six overs to spare.

It had all looked so different when David Masters, the Essex opening bowler produced a superb 10-over spell of 2 for 14, helping to reduce Lancashire to 154 for 5 in the 41st over. Grant Flower chipped in with 2 for 9 in three overs with his left-arm spin.

Du Plessis, who reached his fifty in the 45th over off 52 balls, then took over, peppering the cover boundary as the Essex bowlers failed to cope.

After that battering Essex struggled with the bat, their slow start being compounded by Alastair Cook, the England opener, falling for 12 to a fine running catch by Sajid Mahmood at mid-on off the bowling of Glen Chapple, and Du Plessis running out Varun Chopra for a duck.

Murray Goodwin laid the foundation for Sussex's thrilling six-wicket over Somerset at Taunton with an impressive innings of 93.

Chasing Somerset's 285 for 8, Sussex needed 27 off the last three overs, which began with Zander de Bruyn dropping Rory Hamilton-Brown at deep cover. From there, Sussex got home with five balls to spare, with Ed Joyce making 74 and Michael Yardy unbeaten on 57.

Goodwin picked up the man of the match award for his 93 at just over a run a ball, which included eight fours. He put on 89 with Joyce and the same amount with Yardy. Somerset sensed a chance when Goodwin was trapped lbw by a slower ball from Peter Trego with 33 still needed. But after De Bruyn's miss, Yardy and Hamilton-Brown finished the game.

Goodwin's heroics might not have been needed had James Kirtley not dropped Craig Kieswetter at first slip before he had scored. The Somerset wicketkeeper went on to make 106, while De Bruyn scored 96. They rescued Somerset from a sticky start, in which Marcus Trescothick fell first ball and Justin Langer, the former Australia batsman, made one.

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