Neil McKenzie and Michael Carberry sealed a thrilling 6 wicket semi final victory over the Essex Eagles to claim a place in the Friends Provident t20 Final later on tonight at the Rose Bowl.
With 29 runs still needed from the final 18 deliveries McKenzie (19) and Carberry (17) held their nerve to seal thrilling victory with 4 balls to spare.
The Royals; batting on their home pitch got off to a good start thanks to Abdul Razzaq who attacked the Eagles Bowlers smashing 6 boundaries in quick fire innings of 44 from just 31 delivers.
Razzaq was supported by Jimmy Adams (34) as the pair enjoyed an opening stand of 67 which put the Royals in control.
The Pakistan all rounder’s wonderful innings was ended by Chris Wright in the 8th over and although the Royals lost Adams and James Vince (15) soon after; Sean Ervine (21) kept the pressure on the Eagles before he was bowled by Dwayne Bravo.
With Ervine gone the Royals now needed 30 from just 19 balls setting up a nail biting finish at the Rose Bowl.
Having been put into bat by the Royals; Pettini and Cook got the Eagles off to a good start despite the overhead conditions favouring the bowlers.
With Cook out of form Pettini looked to put the pressure on the Royals young bowling attack as he smashed two boundaries off the bowling of Chris Woods at the start of the second over.
After suffering a disappointing Test series against Pakistan; Cook was desperate to play a meaningful innings and although he was almost ran out at the start of the third over he started to play some positive shots.
The England opener; having survived the early scare started to treat the crowd to a display of powerful hitting which included a huge six off Dominic Cork in the 7th over.
With the overhead conditions improving the openers partnership reached 79 before the Royals finally struck to remove Cook after he had started to look comfortable at the crease.
The Eagles opener had reached 38 before he tamely chipped a delivery from Daniel Christian into the hands of Danny Briggs at fine leg.
With Cook gone the Royals looked the increase the pressure by removing Ravi Bopara (2), Ryan ten Doeschate (1) and Pettini (56) in quick succession to leave the Eagles 105-4.
Hired gun Dwayne Bravo (5), who only flew into England this week to play in the Finals Day for the Eagles quickly followed when he was brilliantly run out by Wood to leave the Eagles in disarray.
James Foster hit back with a quick fire 15 from just 11 balls but the Royals held firm to restrict the Eagles to a total of just 156-7.