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Luc Benkenstein's amazing six-wicket bow – Essex have another spinner in town


Essex 341 (Khushi 104, Westley 104) beat glamorgan 238 (Northeast 70, Benkenstein 6-42) with 103 runs

Seventeen-year-old legspinner Luc Benkenstein cut through the Glamorgan middle-order with six wickets in 36 balls to ease Essex to back-to-back Royal London Cup victories in blistering Chelmsford.

Benkenstein, the son of former South African all-rounder Dale, who is Gloucestershire’s first team coach, took advantage of the kind of conditions that have made Simon Harmer the most formidable spin bowler in the country.

He made his debut against Durham just less than a week ago, at his father’s old stomping ground in Chester-le-Street, and hadn’t taken a wicket for the Essex first team when he threw over the 22nd as Glamorgan made good progress. towards their target of 342.

His incredibly fast flight changed that – and crucially, the crucial wicket of Sam Northeast, who was busy getting himself back into shape with an 81-ball 70. Benkenstein finished with numbers of 6-42 in the 103 run win.

“I’m a little overwhelmed to tell you the truth right now,” he said. “It was a great team performance in very warm conditions in the end so it was incredible from the guys. Getting the wicket from Northeast was very satisfying, he went really well but I knew if I got it in the right place eventually he had to I was chasing after me as the run rate was creeping up. Luckily I got it in the right place and so today was my day, but on another one, it could have been his.

“We could use some rain on the pitch. Quite a few of the guys have nasty cuts and a lot of blood on their shirts, but they’re a great bunch of guys and they’re putting their bodies on the line no matter the circumstances.”

Essex’s impressive tally, after opting to bat against the reigning champions, was bolstered by a second-wicket partnership of 203 – a record for any Essex wicket in the competition against Glamorgan – between Feroze Khushi and Tom Westley , both of which ended with 104 to their names.

For Khushi, his knockout of 86 balls, including five sixes, was his second century of the season, scored on consecutive Sundays, while Westley racked up a ton in consecutive matches of 110 balls. However, once they took off, Essex crashed from 247-3 to 303-9 in the blink of an eye, while Andrew Salter’s time off claimed 3-72.

Glamorgan’s tails were up as Josh Rymell slipped the second legit ball of the thick-edged game from James Harris. They had to wait over 30 overs for their second success, by which time Essex had motorized past 200.

Bowling began with an almost casual taste between Khushi and Westley. Coming in at number 3, Westley dominated the first part of the partnership, contributing 49 of the first hundred and then reaching his own half-century with 51 balls.

The younger Khushi was a little more subdued at first, only managing two-fours in his fifty scored from 57 balls, but he kept the scoreboard ticking along with singles and doubles.

However, it was in the latter stages of his innings that he came alive. His first fifty were a straight six from the hapless Douthwaite. There was a second sweep from Prem Sisodiya before Colin Ingram was taken off the attack after three sixes on the leg in an over with the umpires regularly reaching for the reserve box.

Khushi’s second fifty took just 29 balls, while a single to deep cover took him to three digits. But in the same over, he made a pitch to David Lloyd and was bowled.

Westley was a spectator for a spell as Khushi ran rampant, but reached his own barrel with a thrust into the onside of his 101st ball. But he was caught off guard by a throw from Salter that went down his leg, he lost balance and was knocked out from a wide.

After the two centurions were removed, Glamorgan’s bowlers suddenly discovered a soft underbelly and six wickets went down in six overs before a final wicket bloom added 38.

Only Grant Roelofsen, who came in at number 4, avoided the carnage on the other side, finishing undefeated on 69 from 55 balls, reaching his half-century with a six in the visitors’ locker room.

In response, Lloyd hit seven limits in a 17-ball 30 before picking Snater on the square-leg boundary to give New Zealander Ray Toole a first wicket on debut.

Aside from a drawn six, Ingram struggled for some fluency despite a half-century stand with Northeast. He had reached 17 of 25 balls when he took a swish at Nijjar and was lbw.

Northeast lost its captain Kiran Carlson after another fifty partnerships when he slashed Benkenstein backwards. Benkenstein’s second followed shortly after when Northeast decided to attack and was stunned by Roelofsen, and the third arrived as Khushi rushed in from the cover line to dive and fire Tom Bevan.

Douthwaite leaned back and tried to push Benkenstein away, only to continue playing. Two balls later Tom Cullen walked around and was stunned.

Nijjar had fallen behind Weighell after attempting a reverse sweep before Benkenstein returned to sack Harris, courtesy of Nijjar’s grab around the corner of a top edge.