Weary Spitfires crash to home defeat

Sunday 10th May 2009

Kent v Middlesex, Friends Provident Trophy, Group B.
By Mark Pennell
KENT“S run of successive Friends Provident Trophy qualifying wins came to an abrupt halt after three matches on Monday as they crashed to an 80-run defeat to Middlesex in front of the Sky Sports cameras at a chilly St Lawrence ground.
On a disappointing day for the Spitfires, Middlesex posted a club record 50-over total of 322-5 built around career-best hundreds by Eoin Morgan (161) and Nick Compton (131).
Shell-shocked by the barrage of Middlesex boundaries, Kent“s top-order batsmen took risks from the off and paid dearly by losing three wickets for 40 runs in 10 overs and, in truth, the hosts were never in touch with the run-rate thereafter.
Rob Key“s poor run continued when he edged behind, Martin van Jaarsveld was pinned leg-before for 11 by a Chris Silverwood off-cutter then Joe Denly“s cameo 25 ended when he flashed hard to edge to slip.
Geraint Jones with a punchy 40-ball half-century that included three sixes, and a workmanlike 69 by Justin Kemp were the modest highlights of Kent“s disappointing reply as they eventually succumbed for 242 to lose their second qualifier of 2009 with 26 balls remaining.
The irony for a bemused Kent skipper Key was that his side had made a really impressive start to the day, even though Key had lost the 10.30am toss.
Asked to field first in cold, blustery conditions, Kent removed the dangerous Phil Hughes for 12 and Owais Shah, in his first appearance since IPL, for a second ball duck.
Hughes had his off stump clipped by Wayne Parnell while Shah followed and edged a leg-cutter from Azhar Mahmood to the keeper.
Seemingly in front on points after 10 overs, Kent dropped their guard and were made to pay dearly from dropped catches and sloppy fielding as Middlesex counter-punched through left-handed Morgan and Compton in a Middlesex limited overs record stand of 277 in 37 overs.
The Panthers pairing batted intelligently and improvised cleverly when they needed to, never more so than during their five powerplay overs when they added 64 runs as Morgan, recently selected in England“s World Twenty20 and one-day squads, posted his 100 from 93 balls while Compton needed 106.
They perished in successive overs, Morgan top-edging to fine leg and Compton run out by Denly“s direct hit from long-leg, but by then the damage had already been done.