Denly hits unbeaten century but Cork has the last laugh

Saturday 24th July 2010

Joe Denly hit eight fours and a six in his unbeaten 109-ball stay

Kent Spitfires v Hampshire Royals, Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C, Canterbury.

By Mark Pennell

Kent opener Joe Denly carried his bat with an unbeaten 102, but all in a losing cause as Hampshire held their nerve in a tight finish at St Lawrence to win this Clydesdale 40 game by two runs.
Denly reached three figures in the final over of Spitfires“ abortive run-chase – becoming the first county player to hit a league century this season – but it was all to no availas veteran Hampshire skipper Dominic Cork held his nerve in the final over to secure his side“s third win.
Responding to Hampshire“s respectable 40-over total of 238 for seven, the Spitfires lost Sam Northeast (6) in the fifth over when nicking a wide one into the gloves of keeper Michael Bates.
Despite gloomy skies and humid conditions Kent formed a bright second-wicket stand between acting captain Martin van Jaarsveld and Joe Denly worth 136 in 24.1 overs.
Van Jaarsveld hit five fours in his 73 and went past 50 for the third time in the competition this season before he playing inside a turning delivery from left-arm spinner Danny Briggs to be bowled and make it 153 for two.
Kent needed 81 going into the final 10 overs with eight wickets still intact and, once Geraint Jones had played himself in, took their batting power-play with seven overs of the game to go.
Jones responded by hitting the first ball fromCork for four, but then mistimed a back-foot force to Neil McKenzie at extra cover to bring in Darren Stevens.
In-form Stevens hit only six before Michael Bates send him packing with a reaction catch stood up to Dominic Cork as Stevens aimed a run-down to third man.
With 47 required off the last four overs, Denly pressed the run-rate accelerator by clipping six off his legs against Chris Wood and clattering the next through extra cover for four as 14 came off the over.
Azhar Mahmood bludgeoned two boundaries off the next over from Sean Ervine and with two overs to go Spitfires still needed 20 for victory.
Only seven came off the penultimate over fromspinnerBriggs, with no boundaries, ensuring 13 were needed off the final over of the match fromCork.
Denly reached his 107-ball century with eight fourswith a single off the first delivery leaving Mahmood on strike.
The former Pakistan all-rounder hit four, two and a single, then,from the penultimate ball, Denly dug out a yorker without scoring and could only muster two off the last to give Hampshire their narrow win.
Batting first having lost the toss, Hampshire made a sluggish start and found boundaries hard to come by.
Though new-ball duo of Mahmood and Stevens proved a little wayward – they both bowled wides in each of their first two overs – openers Jimmy Adams and Michael Lumb found the ropes only four times in the opening 10 overs.
Their sedate partnership ended for 48 when Adams (20), in trying to force the pace, mistimed the fourth ball of the day from James Tredwell to long-off where Amjad Khan held a well-judged catch on the run.
Lumb hit his sixth four to move to a 54-ball half-century only to fall to the next ball, advancing down the pitch to drive at Tredwell he missed an attempted lofted drive to giftJones a stumping.
James Vince upped the tempo somewhat with three fours and the game“s first six swept over mid-wicket off Tredwell, was one run short of his half-century when he went lbw when missing another attempted sweep to leave Tredwell with a respectable three for 40.
Neil McKenzie continued the Royals fight back with 40 at almost a run-a-ball only to go in the quest for late runs to a miscued drive to mid-off.
It was left to former Kent batsman Michael Carberry to see the visitors past 200 in the 36th over, but Ervine (13) departed soon after when slicing a drive to long-off.
Carberry went on to reach 46 from 39 balls before he ballooned a drive from a slower ball to deep cover to give Coles three for 53 and leave Kent to pursue at a run-a-ball for victory.