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Ravi Bopara: Time to end our trophy drought
RAVI Bopara says Essex are determined to end their five-year wait for a trophy and give their fans something to cheer by reaching the Twenty20 Finals Day with victory at Trent Bridge tonight.
The 28-year-old international all-rounder was part of the Eagles side which last tasted cup glory with a Friends Provident Trophy victory over Kent in 2008, and admits with the quality of the one-day side at their disposal since they should have added to their honours’ list.
“It would be massive to get through to finals day because we have not won a trophy for a few years and we want to give our fans something to shout about,” said Bopara, who’s likely to play a key role for Essex tonight in their quarter-final against Nottinghamshire.
“So it’s very important we beat Notts. I don’t want to put pressure on any of our lads but is important that we get through and go to the finals day where we know anything can happen between four very good teams, and that you are two games away from winning the whole competition.
“It’s time we gave our fans something to shout about.
“The players here always talk about winning a trophy. At the start of the season we always talk about winning a one-day trophy and we should be aiming for that because we have been quite a good one-day side for the past six or seven years.
“I know the last couple of years have not been ideal, but we have lost a couple of players to international duty or the IPL, which sets us back at the start of the season.
“But we are a very good side in one-day cricket and we want to go on and win trophies and prove that.”
Essex progressed to tonight’s quarter-final as a third-best placed team in a very tough southern group.
Nottinghamshire won the northern section and are the bookies’ favourites to win the title at Edgbaston on August 17.
But Bopara – who comes into the game on the back of a scintillating 115 knock in a YB40 win at Surrey – says they’ll be no inferiority complex from the Eagles.
“Notts will be a tough game because they are one of the best sides in the country and we will have to be at our best to win,” he said.
“But I don’t think we need to do anything special because we’re a good side and we came through a tough group.
“Twenty20 can be decided in just one over and we just have to make sure that one over is ours.
“If you look at our bowling attack we’ve probably got two or three of the best seamers in England at the moment.
“There are some good bowlers elsewhere but I don’t think other sides have a weapon at their disposal like Graham Napier for instance.
“I’m sure it will be a very good wicket too, and I feel like I’m in good nick with the bat at the moment so I’m looking forward to getting out there and hopefully making a big score.”
The first two quarter finals took place on Tuesday with Surrey progressing at the expense of a visiting Somerset side, and midlands section winners Northamptonshire beating Durham at home.
Reigning champions and south group winners Hampshire hosted Lancashire in the third of the last eight meetings last night, and Essex get underway against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in a match which will be screened live on Sky Sports at 7.10pm tonight.