TOM Westley hopes he will continue to produce the goods at the top of the batting order when Essex Eagles welcome Somerset to the Cloudfm County Ground tonight.

Since moving from the number three position he has made his own across all formats, Westley hit 44 in the defeat to Hampshire and an unbeaten 86 as the Eagles overcame Gloucestershire.

And Westley is eager to help Essex enjoy more victories following a stuttering start to the Vitality Blast campaign.

“Opening is not too dissimilar to batting at three,” said Westley.

“You can be in from the second ball anyway in T20 cricket, so it’s not a huge change for me but it’s one that I’m enjoying.

“It probably gives you a little more licence to be aggressive.

“Having 10 wickets in the hutch means you can go for it a bit more – especially opening with someone like Cameron Delport who gives it a serious whack.

“We’ve actually had two good powerplays in the last two games, so hopefully this is something we can continue and set the boys up.”

And Westley admits the change in the batting order was suggested by head coach Anthony McGrath and T20 captain Simon Harmer.

Westley added: “Harmy and Mags felt a change was needed – and it paid off down in Bristol.

“In fact, we were going quite nicely against Hampshire until that drastic batting collapse [from 81/1 to 133 all out]. But down in Bristol, myself and Delport got fifties and Dan Lawrence, going up a place in the order, got a magnificent fifty as well.

“I haven’t opened in T20 cricket before, but I have in 50-over cricket and when it was 40 overs before that.

“I’ve opened in first-class cricket as well, so it’s nothing new.

“I like going in when the powerplay’s going on anyway as it gives me the chance to try and hit a few boundaries.”

Westley is also enjoying batting with power-hitting South African Delport.

“That hundred he got against Surrey was one of the best white-ball knocks you will see,” admitted Westley.

“He takes a lot of pressure off the non-striker because he gets fours and sixes galore.

“T20 cricket has changed massively in the last three or four years. There is not much scope now to try and knock it around at [a strike-rate of] around 110-120.

“If you’ve got the honour of batting in the top six then you’ve got to be striking at 130-plus, so Cammie obviously sets the tone and hopefully the rest of us can follow suit.”

Essex are currently top of the County Championship standings, with Somerset in the runners-up slot.

And Westley believes victory over Somerset tonight could have an impact when the counties switch back to the longer format.

“I suppose just beating them will be a slight psychological advantage for us going back into the Championship campaign,” confirmed Westley.