After the disappointment of Wednesday's washout, Warwickshire persuaded Kent to delay travelling and stage this rearranged Twenty20 Cup quarter-final at teatime for the sake of their supporters. With hindsight they might wish they had been less insistent after a crowd of around 6,000 saw them fall to an embarrassing defeat.
The holders Kent advanced to the finals with a 42-run victory, largely on the back of a whirlwind 69 off 32 balls from Darren Stevens, who made sure of the man of the match award by then taking 2 for 29 with his medium pace. For his team, who begin a Championship match against Yorkshire at Canterbury today, the late-night trip home will have felt a little less wearisome.
Warwickshire, with an undemanding fixture against Bangladesh A, will spend today mulling over how Kent scored 60 off their last three overs. Their thoughts will dwell mainly on a bizarre penultimate over – begun by the rookie seamer Chris Woakes and completed by his captain, Darren Maddy – that cost 34 runs.
Poor Woakes, a 19-year-old in his first Twenty20 campaign, deserved some sympathy, his pain at being hit for six-four-six-six by the rampant Stevens being compounded by the indignity of being ordered out of the attack by the umpire Rob Bailey after supplementing his three legitimate deliveries in the over with two high full tosses. Maddy's first ball bowled Stevens, but then he conceded a six to Azhar Mahmood.
Yet, in choosing to field first, Warwickshire looked initially to have made the right decision. Chris Martin and Woakes made the ball dart around, as well as finding good bounce, and though Joe Denly cut loose before falling to Martin on 27, scoring runs was a struggle for Kent. An outfield still damp from Wednesday's deluge drew the sting from much of their big hitting and at 76 for 4 after 14 overs they looked likely to be defending a modest total.
A costly over of 22 from Tim Groenewald moved things along but it was the last three overs that transformed the innings. Ian Salisbury, his leg-spin punished by Mahmood, went for 16 in the 18th and, after the disaster of the 19th, Neil Carter conceded another 10 in the last.
Warwickshire's pursuit of their target never threatened to succeed, despite 35 off 19 balls from Ant Botha and 27 off 18 by Maddy.Reuse content