Favourites Gloucestershire guaranteed their place in next month's Twenty20 Cup finale with an extraordinary performance to shatter Warwickshire's 100 per cent record here last night, Ian Harvey becoming the first batsman to make a century in the new competition.
The Australian all-rounder claimed the winning run to finish on 100 not out from just 50 deliveries, hitting four sixes and 13 fours as Gloucestershire completed an eight-wicket victory with almost seven of their 20 overs to spare.
Mark Alleyne's side, who proved themselves masters of limited-overs cricket with an unprecedented treble three years ago, cannot now be headed in the Midlands-Wales-West Division. They lead the section by two points with one match to play and even should they lose against Glamorgan at Bristol this evening and Warwickshire win at Northampton they will finish on top because last night's result would be the tie-breaker.
Harvey's brilliant performance, which surpassed fellow Australian Brad Hodge's 97 off 61 balls for Leicestershire against Yorkshire as the Twenty20's highest individual score, followed his unbeaten 75 from 34 balls against Somerset at Taunton last Friday.
Gloucestershire restricted Warwickshire to a modest 134 for 7 after Alleyne had won the toss, then Harvey and New Zealander Craig Spearman attacked the Warwickshire bowling from the outset.
In a breathtaking display of clean-hitting, Harvey cracked four boundaries in a row off the Kenyan leg-spinner Collins Obuya and twice hit Dougie Brown on to the pavilion balcony as he sailed past 50 from just 23 deliveries. By the time Spearman holed out to long-on in the eighth over, Gloucestershire were already only 39 runs short of their target.
After a single off Graham Wagg had taken Harvey to 99 and the scores level after five balls of the 13th over, third-wicket partner Mark Hardinges let the next ball through so Harvey could hit the winning run and complete his century.
Jonathan Lewis had given Gloucestershire a perfect start by dismissing Nick Knight and Dominic Ostler in his first three balls as the visitors put together a superbly disciplined display in the field. Jonathan Trott's unbeaten 64 off 54 balls was a decent effort - but entirely overshadowed by Harvey's exploits later.Reuse content