Strang and McCague keep Kent on track

Kent 177 Warwickshire 145 Kent win by 32 runs
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Kent's heady season continues. Second in the championship, a Benson and Hedges Cup semi-final tie against Northamptonshire tomorrow and yesterday's comprehensive victory over Warwickshire, which leaves them loftily placed in the Sunday League.

They owed their success as much to some fine bowling as to a solid contribution from the batsmen. Indeed, there was one spell when Martin McCague and Paul Strang, doing a good guy, bad guy act - McCague as venomous as ever with his pace, Strang deceptively gentle but full of guile with his leg- spinners - had between them sent five Warwickshire batsmen back into the pavilion in successive overs. And that was that really.

Only acting Warwickshire's captain, Nick Knight, had provided any resistance, but McCague did for him, finding an edge and wicketkeeper Steve Marsh took a stunning left-handed catch with a dive that would have earned him maximum points in the Olympics.

There had been a touch of anxiety about Kent followers after they had been put in to bat, and it was understandable as their side was without Graham Cowdrey (torn hamstring) and Mark Ealham (England duty). So it was good to know that there was someone they could count on.

At one wicket down a reassuring sound began echoing around this most county of all out-grounds as Trevor Ward chose the occasion to rediscover his sure touch. It did take him a little while but eventually the runs came. His pull for six dangerously near the mayoral marquee down at long leg was a sign that Ward, who is doing fine in the first-lass game, is still a quality performer in the limited overs variety.

It was Ward's dismantling of the Warwickshire attack which stitched together something of substance for his own bowlers to have a dart at. There were plenty of thoughtful, field-splitting placements as Ward accumulated vital runs.

He arrived at his first one-day fifty of the season in some style, hooking Graeme Welch for his third four. But even when he fell a couple of overs later, comfortably caught by Michael Edmond at deep extra cover, it merely paved the way for more runs, this time from the admirable Strang.

The Zimbabwean played an array of bold strokes, driving and clipping his way to a Sunday best 40 in just 34 balls. He had clobbered a straight six off the hapless Welch and picked off four other boundaries before he became one of Dougie Brown's four victims.

Now here was a Warwickshire hero. Brown, too, turned in a personal best for the 40-over competition. He picked his wickets in pairs. His first two victims - Matthew Fleming and Alan Wells - departed a ball apart in his fourth over. Brown's final over accounted for Strang, who was caught behind by Tony Frost, and McCague, who quickly followed when bowled. That left Brown was with figures of 4 for 42.

Darren Maddy scored 82 and the opener, Neil Johnson,an unbeaten 79 as Leicestershire cruised to six-wicket win over Middlesex at Lord's. It took them only 35.2 overs to score 198 for victory after the home side had scored 196 for 4 off 37 overs around interruptions for rain.