Essex v Kent: Hosts ease to nine-wicket victory

Jaik Mickleburgh
Mickleburgh has passed 50 just once so far this season
LV= County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford
Essex 328 & 22-1 beat Kent 198 & 151 by nine wickets
Essex 22 pts, Kent 3 pts
Match scorecard

Division Two promotion hopefuls Essex needed just 17 balls and 11 minutes on day three to complete a nine-wicket victory over Kent at Chelmsford.

Chasing 22 for victory, Nick Browne was trapped lbw for five by 20-year-old Matt Hunn, but Jaik Mickleburgh hit the winning runs with a two through mid-wicket off Mitchell Claydon.

Essex are now 22 points behind second-placed Hampshire with two matches left.

It was Kent's first defeat at Chelmsford since 1994.

Marathon man
David Masters passed 600 first-class wickets after claiming five during Essex's victory over Kent

Victory for the hosts - their fifth of the season - keeps their promotion hopes alive, while Kent's fifth defeat of the campaign ended their hopes of playing in Division One next summer.

Essex's penultimate match will be away at Leicestershire and their final match of the season will be against current Division Two leaders Worcestershire, while Hampshire face Kent at home and Glamorgan away in their last two matches.

Essex head coach Paul Grayson:

"We are in good form right now but we realise we probably have to win our last two games.

"The team are playing well, they are full of confidence and I thought our bowling unit was outstanding in this game.

"The pitch offered a little bit more than everyone thought it would on the first day but even so, it was a great bowling display and the century from James Foster and the innings from Graham Napier set up the game for us."

Kent captain Rob Key:

"It was an interesting pitch, it started wet in the middle and dry at the ends, so it was going to seam and also take spin.

"It would have been interesting if we had been able to set them 200 in the last innings, but they got too far in front.

"The ball started to spin a fair amount for Monty Panesar yesterday and we had two spinners, so it could have been a very interesting game of cricket."