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Royal London One-day Cup 2014: Boyd Rankin ruins Kent hopes of reaching Lord’s final

Kent 215-8 Warwickshire 219-4 (Warwickshire win by six wickets)

Warwickshire booked their place in the final of the Royal London One-day Cup as they attempt to complete a limited-overs double following victory as the Birmingham Bears in the NatWest Blast T20 competition.

After restricting Kent to 215 for 8 on the pitch used for Tuesday’s one-day international between England and India, with fast bowler Boyd Rankin producing two impressive spells to finish with 3 for 34, they reached their target with 21 balls to spare in this day-night semi-final.

Half-centuries by Jonathan Trott and Varun Chopra laid the foundations for a six-wicket win, the two sharing a partnership of 110 for the second wicket, after which Tim Ambrose made his fellow wicketkeeper Sam Billings pay for dropping him on nine, standing up to Darren Stevens, with an unbeaten 51.

Rankin had emphasised his value in limited-overs cricket as one of the Bears’ key players in the victory over Lancashire that led to them being crowned T20 champions on finals day at Edgbaston last month. He was rested from the Championship match against Middlesex earlier in the week to ensure his fitness to play here.

Rob Key, the Kent captain, chose to bat first on winning the toss and put on 43 with opening partner Sam Northeast for the first wicket but both fell during Rankin’s opening spell. 

Thereafter Kent struggled to build momentum on a slow pitch and lost wickets at key moments. Smart work by Ambrose and bowler Rikki Clarke ran out Brendan Nash, while Laurie Evans held  three catches, snaring Stevens with an exceptional one-handed effort at deep midwicket. 

Billings, who has been Kent’s leading runscorer in the competition, hit 23 off his last nine balls faced in an unbeaten 40 as he and David Griffiths added 54 in the last nine and a half overs but their total was not enough to stop Warwickshire’s advance to Lord’s. In the final they will face Durham or Nottinghamshire – who meet at Chester-le-Street this Saturday – on 20 September.