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Spitfires taste Lord’s defeat despite Key’s battling display

Wednesday 23rd June 2010

Rob Key’s determined 42 could not prevent a fourth successive t20 defeat

Middlesex Panthers v Kent Spitfires, Friends Provident t20 South Group, Lord“s
By Mark Pennell
A battling 42 from captain Rob Key coupled with 20-plus contributions from Martin van Jaarsveld and Darren Stevens were not quite enough to drag Kent over the win line in Thursday night“s Friends Provident t20 clash at Lord“s.
Needing 155 for victory at 8.5 an over, Kent made a cracking start in posting 54 without loss only to lose their way against rookie Middlesex seamer Tom Smith, who bagged five for 24 in his seventh Twenty20 appearance to restrict the visitors to 141 for seven.
The 13-run defeat, Kent“s seventh of the South Group campaign, was a bitter pill to swallow for an injury ridden Spitfires side who put in an enthusiastic performance only to miss out in the death overs.
Having lost van Jaarsveld (25) to a thick edge to backward point and Geraint Jones, stumped for four, Key did his best to anchor the response on a slow, two-paced pitch being used for the third time in a week, made boundary hitting difficult.
With his score on 42 from 40 balls Key, in aiming to hit straight back over Smith“s head, Key dragged the ball to long-on to spark a collapse that ripped the heart out of Kent“s middle order.
Azhar Mahmood (2) holed out to long off, Darren Stevens (23 from 17) was stumped and Alex Blake (9) spectacularly caught at wide long-off on a night where Kent enjoyed little or no luck.
Having lost the toss, Kent were forced to rest James Tredwell with a slight hip problem and, in the continued absence of Robbie Joseph, Dewald Nel and Amjad Khan, gave a county debut to 19-year-old left-arm seamer Ashley Shaw.
Crew born and bred, Shaw played Cheshire League cricket for Cheshire last summer and honed his game playing Aussie grade cricket in Melbourne last winter. He was recommended for trial in pre-season, and offered a two-year contract after impressing at the St Lawrence nets.
After only two 2nd XI appearances Shaw was handed a dream first appearance for the Spitfires at the home of cricket where the youngster found himself opening the bowling to Aussie left-handers Adam Gilchrist (28) and David Warner (29).
Wearing his squad No22, Shaw went for only seven off his first over from the Nursery End. He conceded 18 off his next two, but then bowled two good-length deliveries in his final over that allowed Gareth Beg to pull a brace of sixes into the Grandstand leaving Shaw with figures of 4-0-42-0.
Kent“s veteran all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, who stood at mid-off to give Shaw a few words of advice, showed how it should be done with an excellent spell of one for 27 that included a maiden and with wicket of Scott Newman for seven.
On a somewhat two-paced pitch, the majority of the home batsmen holed out in the deep when trying to clear the boundary ropes.
Warner sliced one to shirt third man, Gilchrist spooned to mid-on, while Neil Dexter (8), Owais Shah (4) and Dawid Malan – the top-scorer with 41 off 24 balls) all drove hard and flat to long off.
Kent are next in action on Sunday when they travel to take on in-form Sussex Sharks in Hove starting at 6pm.