Cricket: Kent have a wealth of runs in bank: Barrie Fairall looks forward to today's NatWest Trophy games

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The Independent Online
IF CONSISTENCY in the Sunday League is anything to go by, then Kent are the current masters of one- day cut and thrust. Today their all- round skills will be put to the full test across 60 overs at Edgbaston in the second round of the NatWest Trophy, their opponents have fallen once this season to the flashing blades.

Warwickshire visited Canterbury in May and finished 66 runs adrift as Trevor Ward flung the bat and reached 99 before a less than fully fit Allan Donald brought him down. Since then, Ward has scored two Sunday centuries and is closing fast on 600 runs in the 50-over competition.

Neither do Warwickshire's problems end there. Carl Hooper has also moved elegantly beyond the 500- mark and is averaging 74 on Sundays. Small wonder Kent, who sit at the head of the table, are capable of totalling 300 and the rest in the NatWest.

As for performances with the ball, while Warwickshire warmed up in the first round against Norfolk, Kent accounted for Middlesex by a thumping 166 runs thanks to a 5 for 26 return from Martin McCague.

While England's new find and the South African Donald are involved in an express-delivery contest, those old friends and rivals, Ian Botham and Viv Richards, are in adversity for the last time before signing off at the end of the season when Durham tackle Glamorgan in Cardiff.

And Derek Randall, another taking a bow, may face Somerset at Trent Bridge after being out of the Nottinghamshire side since early June. Derbyshire, who meet Lancashire in Saturday's Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord's, hope that the hamstrung Devon Malcolm will be fit for the trip to Worcester.