Pietersen fights fire with fire to steal show

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen enjoyed some much-needed time in the middle at Hove yesterday as he searched for form ahead of the winter Ashes tour, scoring a brisk 116 off 105 balls for his new county, Surrey.

Pietersen, dropped by England for the one-day and Twenty20 series against Pakistan this month and under fire for his spiky reaction to that decision on Twitter, produced the kind of pyrotechnics the national selectors are looking for to help Surrey compile 240 all out in 38.3 overs against Sussex in the Cydesdale Bank 40. Sussex tied the game after their 240-8 in reply.

Neither side will be present in the semi-finals, with Somerset breezing through as Group A winners even before their emphatic 249-run victory against Glamorgan in Taunton. Peter Trego struck a brilliant 147 off just 89 balls in Somerset's 368-4.

Alastair Cook also scored a century to help steer Essex through as the best runners-up, qualifying from Group B after successfully chasing the 209-8 set by Yorkshire at Headingley. The England opener hit an unbeaten 101 off 110 balls as Essex prevailed by seven wickets. Yorkshire had already won the group.

Two more England batsmen, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, ensured Warwickshire progressed into the last four against Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston. Trott was unbeaten on 84 with Bell, continuing his recovery from a fractured metatarsal that ruled him out of the Test series with Pakistan, chipping in with a useful 50. Warwickshire, set a distinctly manageable 193 to win, eased home with seven wickets to spare.

Alexei Kervezee's 111 for Worcestershire couldn't prevent them from suffering a four-wicket defeat against Lancashire at Liverpool. Gary Keedy was the pick of the home bowlers, finishing with 4-41.

Kent's James Tredwell returned figures of 4-20 as they beat Durham by 31 runs in Group C and Harry Gurney took five Hampshire wickets in Leicestershire's 14-run triumph at Grace Road. In Group B, Middlesex beat Derbyshire by seven wickets at Lord's, despite losing the England captain Andrew Strauss for seven, while Gloucestershire saw off Northamptonshire at the County Ground, winning by 82 runs.