Cricket: Maddy's brilliance brushes Kent aside

Kent 158; Leicestershire 159-2 Leicestershire win by eight wickets
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The Independent Online
ON A pitch that had been designer-made for their strong hand of seam bowlers, Leicestershire won an important toss and then outplayed Kent virtually from first ball to last to win their Benson and Hedges Cup quarter- final by eight wickets here yesterday.

Because of the conditions, excitement was in pretty short supply for much of the day, that is until Darren Maddy, with an unbeaten 93 from 129 balls, and Phil Simmons took their side home with 12 overs to spare with some powerful and exotic strokes.

Maddy was brilliant, in his footwork, technique and, more often than not, stroke execution, although he needed some luck on this pitch. At just 24 he is clearly a high class performer.

For poor Kent it was a cautionary day indeed, but there will be those north and south of the Medway who may query the toss being so influential in a game of this nature.

Kent, though, will look back and feel their approach against the seaming, bouncing ball left something to be desired, not least in their decision to send in Matthew Fleming in the fifth over to try one of his bravura knocks better suited to flat pitches after Trevor Ward had gone. Unsurprisingly it was not long before he was caught off a skier.

By then Robert Key had also gone, superbly caught one handed by Ben Smith off a more authentic stroke, and when Alan Wells was leg before to a ball of full length there no way back from 32 for 4 in these conditions.

Alan Mullally, moving the ball around from over and round the wicket, and James Ormond induced regular playing and missing; even Carl Hooper could not always locate the middle of the bat and reined himself in to make 60 from 102 balls before he was last out.

Simmons' accurate medium pace was no less easy to cope with, and there was a hint of panic even in the dismissals of Mark Ealham and Graham Cowdrey. Without 55 extras, the second time this season Leicestershire have established a record for the competition, where would Kent have been?

The rest belonged to Maddy. He began by square-cutting Ben Phillips for six and ended by hitting him back over his head for three successive fours. At 28, it was Phillips' luck to miss him in the gully off Fleming. In the same over, Maddy lifted Fleming out of the ground and Kent's hearts must have sunk even more.