Day to remember for Knight but Kent concentrate on the league

Kent 259-6 Warwickshire 261-5, Warwickshire win by five wickets
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Not that Kent did not try to defy the odds. David Fulton, their captain, boldly decided to drop himself in the hope the team would benefit, as he had -- albeit to no avail -- in the Twenty20. This was a step further, given that the C&G is the FA Cup of cricket although, after passing 50 only seven times in more than 100 one-day games, some would suggest the penny has taken a long time to drop.

Again it made no difference. Warwickshire won by five wickets with 23 balls to spare, leaving Kent, so to speak, free to concentrate on the league.

There were a trio of Ashes-bound England players -- Ashley Giles, Ian Bell and Kent's Geraint Jones -- on display, although none had a greater influence than a batsman whose international career is behind him. Nick Knight's unbeaten 112 brought an ovation from an appreciative Birmingham crowd and won him the man of the match award.

The Warwickshire captain's record in one-day cricket could hardly make a starker contrast with Fulton's. Yesterday's hundred was his 27th in limited-overs games and his domestic aggregate now stands at just 41 short of 12,000 runs.

Kent were missing Amjad Khan but the recall of Justin Kemp paid off, the South African threatening Warwickshire with three wickets and a tumbling return catch which accounted for Bell.

But Kent lacked the one big innings that would have given their total real substance after Matt Walker had chosen to bat first, despite Andrew Hall smashing four boundaries in a startled Dougie Brown's opening over.

Hall was one of three to pass 50, but no one exceeded his 62. Robert Key, his England career on hold, reached 53 before an attempt to pull Giles went horribly wrong while Walker, on 51, seemed to change his mind about sweeping the England left-arm spinner, with fatal results. Giles and the former Kent off-spinner Alex Loudon, who had Hall caught behind and Martin van Jaarsveld at deep mid-wicket, were Warwickshire's most effective weapons with the ball.

Warwickshire were always up with the required rate and any doubts over the outcome were largely of their own making. Hall took a brilliant catch at short fine leg to see off Neil Carter but Bell will be unhappy with the shot he played, Jim Troughton top-edged, Jonathan Trott was run out and Loudon over-reached.

Knight, however, was at ease, happy even to be upstaged in the end by Trevor Penney, who completed a 43-ball half-century with the winning boundary.

Comments