Kent lose heart as Goodwin punishes shoddy bowling

Sussex 282-3; Kent 156 Sussex win by 126 runs
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All is not yet lost to Kent in this competition, although this Benson & Hedges Cup tie was from the moment Murray Goodwin first laid bat on ball just after the halfway mark in the Sussex innings.

While the openers Richard Montgomerie and Tim Ambrose had seen things off to a great, not to say brisk, start, the whole caboose was just beginning to flag and a scoring rate of six an over after the first ten, had sagged to 4.5 when the first two wheels came off.

Monty, looking on target for a century, suddenly forgot where he was and decided to go over the top and take on the enemy in single-handed combat. In this instance the 'enemy' was Andrew Symonds, in off-spin mode yesterday. The Sussex man stepped out to meet the ball and was rewarded for his impetuosity by being stumped. As is so often the case when a big partnership is broken – the pair had put on 137 – when one man goes the other quickly follows, and Ambrose duly fell in the next over, done for careless driving by David Masters.

Goodwin joined his captain Chris Adams and picked up the momentum almost from the off. Normally it is Adams who could be expected to flog the bowling to all parts in better then even time, but not yesterday. He appeared content to stand back and let Goodwin do it all.

The Zimbabwean did not hang around and some mediocre Kent bowling was treated to some high-quality punishment. By the time Adams departed in the final over of the innings – having contributed just 41 to Sussex's second century stand of the innings – Goodwin was within reach of a hundred himself and well on the way to a deserved Gold Award, although his team mate Robin Martin-Jenkins might have disputed the choice, given his subsequent contribution with the ball.

Goodwin could have reached three figures, the way he was seeing the ball. There was little evidence of power to his shots, just timing and placement, but he still helped himself to four big sixes over midwicket as well as five boundaries to reach an unbeaten 85 off 62 balls.

The Sussex bowling was as disciplined as the batting had been controlled and Kent's batting as poor as their own bowling. They had no answer to James Kirtley and his strike partner Martin-Jenkins, both of whom collected four wickets apiece. With the core of their batting ripped out, the Kent batsmen seemed to lose all heart and the tie was over with a full nine overs to spare.