LV=CC: Kent v Hampshire match preview

Sunday 5th September 2010

Kent v Hampshire
LV=County Championship Division One
Tuesday, 7 September – Friday, 10 September 2010. 10.30am start each day.
St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury

It“s crunch time for Kent“s cricketers as they welcome Hampshire to the St Lawrence Ground for a crucial LV=CC clash, starting on Tuesday (7 September). With Rob Key“s men sitting a place off the bottom of the table, and Hampshire one above them, a win in this penultimate game will go a long way to securing division one survival for the home side.

Dominic Cork“s men travel to the county with a seven point advantage over Kent having picked up just two wins from their 14 games so far this season – the very same record as the home side – but they have only lost five compared to Kent“s six so it“s all to play for.

In their last outing in this competition, away at Warwickshire last week, Kent suffered a defeat. Despite reducing the home side to 107-7 in their first innings, the visitors let them off the hook allowing Ant Botha and Imran Tahir to add 118 for the final wicket and see the Bears up to 294 all out. In reply Kent were dismissed for 111 with Alex Blake“s 33 proving to be the only real resistance. Ian Westwood didn“t enforce the follow-on but his side soon found themselves in trouble when four wickets apiece for Azhar Mahmood and Darren Stevens had them on the rack at 54 for eight. However, again Kent failed to polish off the tail as Chris Woakes made fifty to see the home side up to 140 – setting Key“s men a tricky victory target of 324 to win. Despite an unbeaten 110 from Martin van Jaarsveld (pictured), five-wicket hauls from Woakes and Neil Carter meant Kent fell short, bowled for just 228 to hand Warwickshire a crucial 95-run win as they moved out of the relegation zone.

Hampshire also tasted defeat last time out as Lancashire edged them out in a thrilling clash at Liverpool. Batting first, the visitors posted a meagre 160 with number nine Chris Wood top-scoring with 35. Kyle Hogg“s 4-53 did the damage for the home side. Hogg then continued his fine performance in the home side“s first innings as his 81, again batting at number nine, powered them up to 398 as they built a healthy lead. Wood“s 3-85 shone for the visitors. With defeat looking likely, Hampshire then re-grouped and thanks to Jimmy Adams“s vigil (194 from 508 ball), they batted time and when they were finally bowled out for 405, Lancashire were set 168 to win, at a rate of over five runs per over. Victory finally came with one ball to spare for the home side as 51 from Shivnarine Chanderpaul led them on their way to a three wicket win. Three more wickets from Wood all proved to be in vain as Hampshire were kept firmly in the relegation shake-up.

The last time these two teams met came back in July when Kent lost at the Rose Bowl. They batted first and made 251, thanks to fifties from Joe Denly and Sam Northeast, but 5-50 from Cork always kept the home side in the game. In reply, Hampshire batted beautifully and amassed 553 for seven. Former Kent batsman Michael Carberry smashed 158 and put on 254 for the fourth wicket with South African Neil McKenzie (113). From then on Kent were struggling and capitulated to 191 all-out in their second innings to hand Hampshire a crushing innings and 111 run win. Van Jaarsveld“s unbeaten 82 proved the only resistance.

With division one survival at stake, this week“s clash is the biggest of Kent“s domestic season so far. Please come down to the St Lawrence Ground to show your support in a game that means so much to both sides. Tickets are available on the gate. The price is £20 for adults and £5 for juniors.

Kent team director Paul Farbrace has named the following 13-man squad for the game: Rob Key (C), Joe Denly, Sam Northeast, Martin van Jaarsveld, Geraint Jones (W), Darren Stevens, James Tredwell, Matt Coles, Simon Cook, Malinga Bandara, Dewald Nel, Alex Blake, James Goodman.

Meanwhile Simon Jones is included in the Hampshire squad. If he plays it will be the bowler“s first four-day match of the season, marking another milestone in his recovery from injury. He replaces David Balcombe, who misses the trip with a back injury. Youngster Chris Wood is also included in the squad after impressing with six wickets on debut against Lancashire last week.

Dominic Cork and Jimmy Adams are expected to return to the starting line-up, having been rested for Saturday“s Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Leicestershire. The team will also play their first match without Neil McKenzie. The South African has headed home to play in the Champions League and is replaced in the squad by Liam Dawson.

Hampshire (from): Dominic Cork (C), Jimmy Adams, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Simon Jones, James Vince, Michael Carberry, Michael Bates (W), Danny Briggs, James Tomlinson, Chris Wood, Phil Hughes.