Denly dazzles on Kent comeback, leading Panthers to victory at Canterbury

Tuesday 26th June 2012

Men’s First Team

Denly dazzles on Kent comeback, leading Panthers to victory at Canterbury

Joe Denly returned to haunt his old club with an unbeaten 90whichtookMiddlesex to a 48-run Friends Life t20 win.

Born at the Kentand Canterbury Hospital that overlooks the ground, 26-year-old Denly cracked 11 fours and a six in a Middlesex total of 207 for two.

Despite Sam Northeastand Sam Billings putting on 90 for the opening wicket, Kent were behind the run-rate throughout their innings and finished on 159 for seven.

Having elected to bat first on the same pitch used in the women's one-day international between England and India earlier in the day, Middlesex took advantage of sublime conditions to put on a display of power hitting through Denly and his opening partner Paul Stirling.

Only a wide came off the opening over from Mark Davies, but Stirling started with a sliced six over cover off a good length ball from Azhar Mahmood.

Azhar conceded 30 off his next over, including 24 off the bat to Stirling, coupled with a misdirected slower ball that slid out of the bowler's hand and over the wicketkeeper's head.

Stirling reached his 50 from 21 balls with two sixes and eight fours, and added another 13 before holing James Tredwell out to Matt Coles at long-on, bringing an end to a record t20 opening stand for Middlesex worth 127 in 11.5 overs.

Denly reached his 11th T20 fifty in slightly more measured style, from 38 balls and with six fours and a six, as Middlesex cantered along at 10 an over.

Eoin Morgan, released from England's one-day squad for this game, clubbed three sixes in a cameo 36 from 18 deliveries as he and Denly added 71 in 45 balls before the Irish-born left-hander clipped Azhar to Billings at cow corner.

Denly marched on to an unbeaten 90 from 66 balls. His 11 fours and a six eased Middlesex through to their highest ever T20 total against Kent.

Azhar had figures of one for 61 from his four overs, while Davies emerged as Kent's most frugal bowler having conceded only 21 off his allocation.

Though Kent made a decent start to their pursuit with a first-wicket stand of 90 through Billings and Northeast, the run rate soon began to mount and the pressure told.

Billings drove uppishly to Neil Dexter at cover to go for 43 from 29 balls then Dexter, another former Kent player, took the ball to claim three for 22.

Middlesex skipper Dexter took an overhead catch off his own bowling to account for Darren Stevens and had Northeast (60) caught at long-on after a maiden T20 fifty.

Azhar went in identical fashion from the next ball, Coles sliced Stirling into the hands of Tom Smith at short third man and Alex Blake was run out without facing Denly as Kent lost four wickets in as many balls for one run.

Click here for the scorecard

Photo Sarah Ansell