Inspired Plunkett overshadows Anderson

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The Independent Online

Liam Plunkett starred with bat and ball as Durham recorded a thumping 83-run victory over northern section rivals Lancashire in the Friends Life t20 last night.

Skipper Dale Benkenstein scored 60 off 34 balls before Plunkett thumped 27 off 10 deliveries late on as Durham ran up an imposing 200 for six at Chester-le-Street – their third highest Twenty20 total ever.

Plunkett then helped skittle Lancashire for 117 after claiming career-best 20-over figures of five for 31, allowing Durham to climb up to third spot with their third win of the season.

Plunkett's performance saw him comfortably outshine England rival Jimmy Anderson, who finished the evening as by far the most expensive bowler on display after shipping 54 runs from his four overs for Lancashire.

South Group strugglers Middlesex were celebrating a rare victory after defeating Kent by 28 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method at Uxbridge.

Kent made 149 for three off their 20 overs, opener Joe Denly top-scoring with an unbeaten 84, but a quickfire half-century from Ireland batsman Paul Stirling led Middlesex to only their second win of the campaign.

The 20-year-old Stirling hit 51 off 23 balls as Middlesex reached 79 for one when the umpires called it a day after playing on in pouring rain for the last 10 overs of the Kent innings and the first eight overs of the Middlesex reply.

Elsewhere around the country, the bad weather conditions badly affected the eight-game fixture list.

The matches between Essex and Surrey and Worcestershire and Derbyshire were abandoned without a ball being bowled, while three other games finished in no results.

A potentially exciting contest at Taunton was stopped in its tracks due to the conditions with South Group leaders Sussex on 40 for two off 3.4 overs in response to Somerset's mammoth 177 for four in a clash reduced to 15 overs a side. Home skipper Marcus Trescothick smashed an unbeaten 87 off 39 balls while Kieron Pollard, making his first appearance of the campaign for last season's runners-up Somerset, thumped 40 not out off 18 deliveries, but their efforts proved in vain as first bad light and then rain brought a premature end to proceedings.

Meanwhile, the West Indies pace bowler Ravi Rampaul has been fined 10 per cent of his match fee for dissent after disputing an umpire's decision in the first Test against India, the ICC said. The West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, was also reprimanded for another code of conduct breach in the Test, the ICC said in a statement.

India won the Test, which ended on the fourth day on Thursday at Sabina Park, by 63 runs to take the lead in the three-match series.