Prolific Ingram inspires Glamorgan to last-ball epic
Glamorgan 224 for 5 (Ingram 114, Cooke 49) beat Essex 219 for 4 (Chopra 103*, Bopara 63) by five wickets
Colin Ingram blazed his way to a second century in the space of eight days as Glamorgan clinched a five-wicket NatWest T20 Blast victory over Essex in a run-fest at Chelmsford.
Ingram survived being dropped on 13 to post a format-best 114 from 55 balls which contained eight fours and nine sixes, his second ton in three games having also reached three figures with 101 against Sussex last Sunday.
His efforts went a long way to helping Glamorgan overhaul Essex's 219 for 4, in which Varun Chopra went to his maiden T20 century with a splendid 103 not out from 59 balls, with six fours and eight sixes.
But the Essex opener somehow found himself on the losing side as, with two runs required off the last ball, Craig Meschede cleared the ropes for the 29th six of the day to end a thrilling match in which 443 runs were scored.
Chopra shared an Essex record third-wicket partnership of 122 in 11 overs with Ravi Bopara, who hit five sixes in a 32-ball 63. Essex's batsmen hit 15 sixes in total, and their 219 was the third highest they have compiled in the competition.
Essex won the toss, but lost Dan Lawrence to the third ball, beaten by Michael Hogan's pace, before Chopra and Tom Westley laid into the Glamorgan attack in a second-wicket stand of 70 in six overs.
Westley was dropped at wide mid-on by Andrew Salter before slashing at De Lange to be caught on the third-man boundary by Meschede. Chopra continued apace, alongside Bopara, and reached his half-century off 30 balls.
The Essex pair were having no problems clearing the boundary and Bopara only needed 26 balls to bring up his fifty in an Ingram over that went for 26 with two more sixes from Chopra, the second straight into the river which brought up the 100 stand.
Bopara pulled Timm van der Gugton over midwicket for his fifth sixth before feathering the next ball to the wicketkeeper.
Chopra took Essex past 200 with 10 balls left with a straight six off Graham Wagg and the century was reached off the penultimate ball when Chopra pulled a one-bounce four over midwicket off Hogan.
Glamorgan's attempt to rattle along at 11 an over got off to a poor start when Aneurin Donald tried an inexplicable ramp shot to a straight one from Jamie Porter in the second over and was bowled, bringing Ingram to the crease.
The South African pulled Porter over midwicket for the 16th six of the day, though when he went for another in the same over he was put down by Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate at long-on.
Ingram had 13 at the time. Simon Harmer felt the brunt of Ingram's relief with two sixes in an over costing 21, the first to long-off, the second over midwicket.
David Lloyd helped Ingram put on 56 in five overs before he was caught at short fine-leg by Ashar Zaidi off Bopara.
But Ingram was unperturbed and raced to his half-century from 23 balls with six fours and those three sixes. There were two more in an over by Porter, both in the cow corner area.
Glamorgan captain Jacques Rudolph departed for nine, chipping Harmer high to Porter at short third man. But Ingram launched his sixth six off Zaidi and another off Harmer.
His eighth, straight from a free-hit from Paul Walter, took him to his century from 50 balls. Number nine was pulled over midwicket off Bopara.
Chris Cooke weighed in with three sixes of his own in an 83-run stand in seven overs for the fourth wicket before Ingram was run out at the non-striker's end by Mohammad Amir.
Cooke responded by hitting the next ball for six over midwicket before perishing on 49 to Walter's catch on the cover boundary. It was left to Meschede to apply the coup de grace.