Maher fries Hussain as Glamorgan sizzle

Essex 267-6 Glamorgan 273-2 Glamorgan win by 8 wickets
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According to the Met Office, Cardiff was one of the country's hot-spots yesterday with temperatures nudging 30C, and that high was matched by some sizzling cricket to please a near 4,000 crowd.

Glamorgan's latest overseas recruit, the Queenslander Jimmy Maher, was the day's hero, thumping an excellent maiden hundred in the competition, which quite overshadowed Nasser Hussain's earlier century for Essex and helped Glamorgan coast to victory with 6.5 overs to spare and reinforce their second place in the First Division of the National League.

On the way Maher and Robert Croft set a Glamorgan first-wicket record of 181 in the competition.Croft, who scored a fine 64 off 71 balls, was content to play second fiddle to Maher's virtuoso display.

His 142, which fell two short of Hussain's unbeaten effort, included four sixes and 18 fours off 113 balls and contained some outrageous shots. The last, a reverse pull, looked destined to become a fifth six until James Middlebrook, on tip-toe right on the boundary clung on to the ball without stepping over.

Earlier, Hussain and Ronnie Irani had got Essex off to solid start, seeing off the threat of the worthy Mike Kasprowicz and going on to compile a record stand, 148 runs from 30 overs, for any wicket against Glamorgan in this competition.

Irani's contribution was subdued by his standards, although there was no denying the value of his excellent 63. But if his innings did not produce the usual dramatics, his departure certainly did. After a firm shot to midwicket in Adrian Dale's first over, Irani saw Michael Powell dive to his right, take the ball and in one flowing movement get back to his feet and throw it unerringly to wicketkeeper Mark Wallace with Irani well out of his ground.

Hussain's 144 (his best in all one-day cricket and the highest individual score in this competition at Sophia Gardens) kept Essex hopes high, an innings that he finished off with a flourish, thrashing a couple of sixes.

There had also been a whirlwind appearance by Aftab Habib who thumped three straight sixes, two off Croft, one off Dale.