Knight revels in a victorious day

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 285-7

Durham 194 all out

Warwickshire win by 91 runs

Taking a simplistic view, Nick Knight, late of Essex, has replaced Brian Lara in Warwickshire's team this summer. Phil Neale, the county's new director of coaching, rightly regards the analogy as unfair, but Knight obviously fancies a tilt at Lara's crown.

His gold-award winning innings of 91 - a Benson and Hedges Cup best - from 109 balls with 11 fours on his home debut illustrated that there is life after Lara. Roger Twose sustained the impression with 90 from 99 balls, and Warwickshire were scenting something far more significant than just a routine victory over Durham.

As members of the toughest group, Warwickshire - the holders - have no automatic access to the quarter-finals, especially after losing to Nottinghamshire. However, Knight's third-wicket partnership of 127 in 20 overs with Twose carried them toward the impregnable, at least in this game.

Prime candidates to challenge their total were John Morris and Manoj Prabhakar, the Indian all-rounder. Prabhakar, having taken the new ball and proved costly, was later caught cheaply at square leg. Morris completed a half-century from 73 balls and was eighth out with the score standing at 176 when driving a fierce return catch to Dermot Reeve.

Reeve himself had acquired the familiar "not out" asterisk. Rarely feeling a tendency for self-sacrifice, he did his Micawber act and waited for something to turn up. Thanks to him, Warwickshire aspired to 300. But from 168 for 2 with 20 overs left, they failed to fulfill their promise, which may prove fatal as the season unfolds.

Wayne Larkins had been run out by Trevor Penney - surely news of his athleticism has reached Sedgefield - and Jonathan Longley trod on his stumps. Durham could scarcely afford these misadventures, nor this highly predictable defeat.

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