Kent crash out at the hands of Trescothick and Somerset

Friday 14th August 2009

Darren Stevens hit a career-best 77 in a losing cause

Kent v Somerset Twenty20 Cup semi-final, Edgbaston.
By Mark Pennell
A limited overs batting master-class by Somerset“s former England batsman Marcus Trescothick sent Spitfires tail-spinning out of the Twenty20 Cup as Sabres wrapped up an impressive seven-wicket win in Saturday“s semi-final at Edgbaston.
Trescothick led the successful west county pursuit of Kent“s modest 145 for five with a magnificent 56 off 32 balls with eight fours and two sixes as the Kent“s bowling attack suffered under a barrage of boundaries.
Sabres were given a flying start when the ex-Test left-hander Trescothick took four successive fours off Amjad Khan“s opening over of the innings from The City End. Bowling too wide and too full, Khan conceded boundaries to extra cover, mid-on, point and cover as the batsman they nicknamed ‘Banger“ plundered 16 in four balls.
Somerset skipper Justin Langer also opened his account with a four when he square drove Wayne Parnell“s first ball from the Pavilion End to the ropes in front of the Rae Bank Stand, then Trescothick tucked in again by clipping over long-on for a sixth boundary as the score rattled on to 26 after two overs.
Khan was immediately replaced by Simon Cook in a bid to stem the flow of runs, but Trescothick refused to be tied down and countered with a six over mid-wicket.
Parnell was also spared further punishment as Key introduced the military medium-pace of Darren Stevens, but again eight came off the over as Langer flicked the final ball to deep square leg.
The carnage continued when Trescothick took two more boundaries from Cook“s next over to post the Sabres“ 50 from 28 balls, 11 of which were dot balls.
To rub salt in Kent“s open wounds, Azhar Mahmood replaced Stevens only to serve up a no ball long-hop from his first ball that Langer carved for four through cover, just a single came from the free hit, but Trescothick laced the next ball over cover for another boundary and then smashed a six over extra cover to reach his 50 from 27 balls with eight fours and two sixes.
In-form James Tredwell finally gave Kent a breakthrough with only his third ball when Langer spooned a catch to cover off a leading edge to make it 73 for one after 40 balls then, in his next over, the off-spinner struck again to end Trescothick“s spree. In attempting to drive on the up he spooned a simple catch to Mahmood at backward point to make it 84 for two and end Trescothick“s 32-ball cameo.
Relatively normal service was resumed thereafter as Kent steadied their ship with some steadier bowling but, with only 52 needed from 60 balls, Zander de Bruyn (33*) and James Hildreth (36) no longer needed to take risks as they added 57 in nine overs.
Hildreth fell when slogging against Mahmood in the penultimate over, but de Bruyn and Craig Kieswetter polished the job off to win with seven balls to spare.
Batting first after losing the toss, though skipper Key said he wanted to make first use of the pitch anyway, Kent made the worst possible start by losing opener Joe Denly for a third-ball duck.
Pushing hard at an in-swinging yorker from Alfonso Thomas“s fourth ball of the game Denly lost his middle stump to make it two for one.
In his next over right-armer Thomas bagged his second scalp when he trapped Martin van Jaarsveld leg before for 10. Pushing half-forward from the crease, the South African missed another in-ducker to be given leg-before by umpire Ian Gould, despite the batsman“s protestations that he had nicked it.
The gloom deepened for Spitfires when Geraint Jones, with only six to his name, had his off stump pegged back by Charl Willoughby from the City End as the right-hander backed away making room in an effort to hit a length ball over the off-side.
Having taken only 32 off the powerplay overs Spitfires regrouped with a thoroughly professional fourth-wicket stand worth 62 in 59 balls between Key and Stevens. Prior to the game Key said his side would need to ‘bat smart“ and, in scoring a steady 34, Key led by example until he had his off-stump feathered by Peter Trego to go after a third-umpire referral.
Stevens charged on to an excellent 40-ball half-century with six fours, his 4th in this season“s cup campaign as he and Justin Kemp plundered 11 off the only over from rookie leg-spinner Max Waller to post the county“s 100 from 95 balls with 12 fours.
Thomas finished with excellent figures of two for 26, but Kent accelerated in the final over from Arul Suppiah by smashing 20 runs, 16 of them to Stevens.
The former Leicestershire right-hander clattered a four through long-on, a straight six onto the top tier of the pavilion, a two to long-off to move to a competition-best and then a further six and a single to lose the strike to Kemp.
In risking a second run to long-on from the final ball of the innings Stevens slipped when turning to be run out at the non-striker“s end by a throw from Hildreth to go for a magnificent 77 from 51 balls with seven fours and a brace of sixes.
He and Kemp (15*) had added 52 from 31 balls for the fifth wicket to leave Somerset to chase at the rate of 7.3 per over, but it was a chase that proved well within the Sabres“ compass.
Photo by ARPics