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Denly puts Saltires to the sword

Sunday 3rd May 2009

By Mark Pennell

Kent 206-6 after 42.2 overs (Denly 97*, van Jaarsveld 37) beat Scotland 227-7 after 50 overs (Hamilton 75, Borgas 65, Joseph 3-55) by four wickets D/L Method. Canterbury.

AN unbeaten 97 from Kent“s Joe Denly prevented Scotland from landing a giant-killing win in Canterbury where the hosts survived the jitters to secure a second Trophy win inside 48 hours with only 10 balls to spare.

A crowd 3,000-plus crowd – the largest for any of Scotland“s previous Trophy ties – enjoyed an entertaining game of cut and thrust as Kent chased down a revised target with four wickets in hand after Scotland posted an impressive 50-over total of 227-7 on a sublime St Lawrence pitch.

Having been set a revised target of 206 in 44 overs when rain interrupted the Kent reply, it was England Lions opener Joe Denly with a hard fought 129-ball stay with only six fours and one six who saw Spitfires home.

Possibly smarting at having missed out on England Twenty20 selection, the 23-year-old from nearby Whitstable, never looked at his most fluent, yet he stuck it out to reach an 80-ball 50 with four fours.

His opening partner Rob Key (27) fell leg before to Jan Stander after a stand of 70 then, after a more fluent partnership of 67 in 14 overs, Martin van Jaarsveld (37) skied to deep mid-wicket.

The half-hour rain break impacted Kent“s victory charge, however, as Darren Stevens, James Hockley and Azhar Mahmood all fell after the resumption in the space of three over.

Stevens drove a return catch to Ryan Watson, Hockley danced down the pitch and passed one from left-arm spinner Glenn Rogers to be stumped, then Azhar Mahmood dragged his back foot when attempting to slop sweep Watson and became Simon Smith“s second stumping victim.

Denly then lost Geraint Jones to a sharp catch by Smith stood up off Stander, but the 23-year-old saw it through to finish three short of a deserved ton and only six short of a one-day career best.

Having been humbled by Middlesex and Warwickshire in their opening two qualifiers, Scotland were given first use of the pitch and made the most of a steady start as openers Moneeb Iqbal (5) and newly appointed captain Gavin Hamilton all but saw off Kent“s hugely experienced new ball pairing Steffan Jones and Azhar Mahmood and it took a beauty from Mahmood to feather the edge of Iqbal“s bat and give Geraint Jones a regulation catch.

Hamilton and former Saltires“ skipper Watson added 55 in 14 overs for the second wicket and, despite a hostile stint from Robbie Joseph, looked relatively untroubled off-spinner James Tredwell accounted for Watson (24), caught in the deep off a top-edged sweep.

Former Yorkshire and England all-rounder Hamilton teamed up with Scotland“s overseas player, South Australian Cameron Borgas, to double the Saltires“ score in an attractive third wicket stand of 84 in 17 overs.

Both men reached deserved 50s, Hamilton“s from 70 balls with five fours while Borgas hit a second successive Trophy half-century in only 56 balls with one four and two sixes.

Their fun ended when the left-handed Hamilton attempted a back-foot force against Robbie Joseph only to pick out van Jaarsveld at cover.

In the quest to improve their moderate run rate of 4.54 an over Scotland lost Neil McCallum (2) and Stander (0) to Joseph, who found an extra yard of pace from the Nackington Road End to claim 3-55.

At the death Borgas chipped to wide long-on where Simon Cook performed like Billy Elliott to claim the catch and still stay within the ropes, then Rogers gifted Mahmood a second wicket by nicking a slow-ball bouncer to the keeper.