Cricket: Kendall work goes to waste

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The Independent Online
Leics 248; Hampshire 245-6 Leics win by three runs

NIXON MCLEAN may have found little favour with the ball but his powerful hitting in the penultimate over gave Hampshire an outside chance of pulling off an astonishing victory. They needed 27 off the final two overs but three consecutive boundaries from the West Indian reduced the equation to 14 required off the last. They ultimately failed by four runs and will rue the period between the 25th and 31st overs when only 11 runs were added for the loss of Robin Smith.

Vince Wells and Matthew Brimson bowled well admittedly, but there was little attempt to steal singles or disrupt the bowlers' rhythm, Yet prior to this spell Will Kendall and Dimitri Mascarenhas had demonstrated the importance of aggressive running between the wickets.

Kendall is very quick on his feet, and when he was bowled trying to whip a straight ball through mid-wicket, Mascarenhas struggled to continue the momentum with his new partners. It was only when John Stephenson arrived that they broke free of the shackles and it became a contest again. He scored at better than a run a ball and showed the kind of urgency that is needed in one-day cricket, but which had been previously lacking.

It should not have been, though, because Derek Kenway and Jason Laney had raced to an opening partnership of 96 in the 16th over, but just as the Leicestershire lower order had betrayed the fine work of Darren Stevens, Jon Dakin and Darren Maddy, so the Hampshire middle order betrayed Laney and Kenway.

Stevens and Dakin had laid the foundations for a huge Leicestershire total with a mixture of agricultural swipes and stylish shots but inept batting in the closing stages of their innings that a school team would have been embarrassed by, kept Hampshire in the game. With 10 overs remaining they were on 209 and had six wickets left but rather than playing for the in-form Maddy, each new batsman came in and perished lustily swinging the bat. Only 39 more runs were added and they committed the cardinal sin of failing to use all their allotted overs.

Maddy walked off the field bemused, as he had been left stranded on 89, and sensible cricket then would have prevented the frenetic chaos at the end. Perhaps it would not have been as exciting for the crowd but infinitely more professional and successful.

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