ESSEX coach Paul Grayson was full of praise for Ravi Bopara after his outstanding innings in Wednesday’s t20 win at Kent.

Bopara smashed an unbeaten 81 off only 44 deliveries to lead Essex Eagles over the line against Kent Spitfires, having been set a total of 190 to win in Canterbury.

Grayson said the all-rounder had been in superb form, having also hit 162 for Essex in their County Championship draw against Kent this week.

“It was an outstanding exhibition of one day batting,” said Grayson. “He looked fearless throughout and was very ably supported by Ryan (ten Doeschate – 47 off 29 balls) meaning we were able to keep the run rate up despite a good score by Kent.

“I believe this is also the first time we have chased down a score at Kent in seven matches so that is satisfying as well.”

The Essex coach also said his side were again unfortunate not to take more out of their county championship game. Essex have won only one of their eight matches but sit third in Division Two after six draws.

“We completely controlled the game but lost 70 overs to rain,” Grayson added. “In the end 13 points was not too bad and we got extra batting points for the first time in a while.”

Kiwi Jesse Ryder was again a menace with the ball – claiming ten Kent wickets and his first ever five-wicket haul in first-class cricket with figures of 5-54 and 5-56.

“He hadn’t got one before and then ended up with two in one match,” said Grayson. “He is another in good form with the ball and we know a big score with the bat is very close. He is not to be underestimated.”

Essex Eagles are in fine form in the t20, and sit joint top of the league after five matches. They do not have long to wait to return to action, as they take on Gloucestershire at the ECG tonight.

“We are in a good place at the moment,” admitted Grayson. “We are looking forward to the next game and we said before the week began that if we could get wins at Kent and against Gloucestershire it would put us in a very strong position.”