Kuhn century guides Spitfires to Lord’s

Kuhn century guides Spitfires to Lord’s

Another Heino Kuhn century guided Kent Spitfires to the Royal London One-Day Cup final after a thrilling final-over win at Worcester.

The South African opener became the first batsman to score four centuries in five consecutive English List A matches with his 12th one-day hundred.

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Stands of 114 with Adam Rouse and 115 with Alex Blake helped Kent recover from 31-3 to chase 307 at New Road.

The hosts won the toss and little hesitation in opting to bat first. Skipper Callum Ferguson may have rued his decision when the Spitfires seamers made early in-roads to leave the Rapids on 41-3 after the first 10-over powerplay.

Matt Henry struck first as opener George Rhodes nicked a drive to Heino Kuhn, who took a fine low catch in the slips for 2 in the third over.

Harry Podmore made it two down when he trapped the Rapids captain Ferguson LBW in the sixth over, a big scalp considering the powerful Australian had struck two scores in excess of 150 in four group games.

Joe Denly threw the ball to Darren Stevens in the final over of the powerplay and was rewarded as Joe Clarke drive aerially to Henry at mid-on for 23.

Stevens struck again in the 14th over to reduce the hosts to 48-4 when he clean bowled Daryl Mitchell who misjudged an in-ducker and departed for 4.

Brett d’Oliveira (78) and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Cox (122*) rebuilt with a one-day club record fifth-wicket stand before Henry took a superb one-handed catch to remove d’Oliveira.

The right-hander drove aerily wide of the New Zealander at long-on before a sharp sprint and dive to end the partnership.

Podmore switched to the Diglis end to bowl Ross Whiteley before Cox reached his maiden one-day century and Ed Barnard (50* off 28 balls) combined to help push the total to 306-6 with 107 scored in the last 10 overs.

In reply, Kent slid to 31-3 after superb new-ball bowling by teenager Dillon Pennington who removed Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly in each of his first overs from the New Road end and a wicket for D’Oliveira’s first over at the Diglis end.

Kuhn rebuilt with Adam Rouse (70) who scored his third one-day 50 off 71 balls before Alex Blake blasted three fours and three sixes to reach the same milestone off 40 balls with two straight sixes into the New Road end.

Blake holed out to D’Oliveira at long-off for 61.

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