5/20/2016 0 Comments
The Natwest Blast kicked off in spectacular fashion as runs flowed and stumps flew to put pay to any murmurings of the shortest format of the English game being mediocre.
Worcestershire, Birmingham, Northampton, Sussex, Kent and Surrey all picked up wins at the first time of asking as the T20 blasted off.
At New Road, a magnificent 54-ball 127 from Tom Kohler-Cadmore kicked off the campaign in style. The youngster flayed the Durham attack all round the New Road outfield to lead his side to 225/6 from their 20 overs. Kohler Cadmore dominated his side’s total with only in-form Brett D’Oliveira making it past 30 as Durham took wickets at regular intervals. The opener struck 14 fours and eight sixes to help his side to set a commanding target for their visitors to chase. On the bowling front, as you would expect when the batting side reaches a mammoth total many had an economy rate to be fear with Scott Borthwick the only man to have semi-respectable figures of 2-24. In reply, Joe Leach showed the visitors how it is done taking a spectacular five-wicket bag to bowl his team to victory. He removed the dangerous Phil Mustard (64), Mark Stoneman (25), Ryan Pringle (21), Calum MacLeod (0) and Barry McCarthy (0) – who had a day to forget, collecting a golden duck after getting smashed for 63 from his four overs. In truth, the Jets never looked like getting the required 226 for victory as regular wickets continually pegged them back with only Mustard threatening to spoil the party. Mitchell Santner showed his class finishing with figures of 2-29 from his four overs, but the day belongs to Leach whose figures of 5-33 led the Rapids to a 38-run success.
Sam Hain’s magnificent unbeaten 92 led Birmingham Bears to a thrilling win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. The young opener struck 12 fours and a couple of sixes to hold his nerve and guide his side to success with two balls the spare. Hain was well assisted by Luke Ronchi (22 off 10), William Porterfield (26 off 18) and Chris Woakes (16 off 11) as the t20 specialists edged to a six-wicket win. Amongst the carnage new Nottinghamshire skipper Dan Christian had a bowling day to forget going for 23 off of his two overs. Earlier in the day, Nottinghamshire had Greg Smith (43) and Riki Wessels (52) to thank as the hosts reached 179/7 from their 20 overs with Jeetan Patel producing his usual t20 heroics collecting figures of 3-23 from his four overs. Indeed, only three batsmen passed 20 for the hosts who fell just short of victory at Trent Bridge. Wessels struck four 4s and a couple of sixes in his half-century before becoming one of Patel’s three wickets. Requiring just five off the last over having done the bulk of the work in the penultimate over, the Bears negotiated the Yorkers from Luke Fletcher to scramble singles and twos before Woakes unleashed to smash the six that secured the win with a couple of balls to spare.
Seekkhuge Prasanna had a day to remember as he smashed a six off his only ball to lead Northampton to victory at Grace Road. The Sri Lankan, who had earlier impressed with the ball taking 1-21 of his four overs capped a fine all-round display to launch Ben Raine out of the ground to guide his new team home with a ball to spare in a rain-affected match in Leicester. Earlier, Mark Pettini (43) and Umar Akmal (52 not out) starred for the hosts who reached 178/5 from their 20 overs. The Pakistani batsman struck 3 fours and 3 sixes in his 32-ball stay as he hit his first t20 half-century of the summer, the first of many we suspect. In reply, the big-hitting Richard Levi got the visitors off to a flier hitting seven fours and three sixes in his innings of 61 before he fell facing his 29th ball caught by Pettini off Ben Raine (2-34). The in-form Duckett played a gem of an innings to help keep his side in the driving seat hitting an unbeaten 37 off 34 balls with five fours as the visitors dodged the rain to secure victory. A light shower reduced the Northampton innings to 18-overs with a new target of 164. They got it down to just needing seven off the last with six-wickets in hand, but they lost Wakely early in the last as he skied a ball straight back to the bowler Raine. That left Duckett and Prasanna with the task of seeing the visitors home, and Duckett hit the second ball of the over to the ropes to leave them requiring three from four. He scrambled a single to leave the debutant Sri Lankan to get 2 from the final two balls, he needed just one of those as he hit Raine over the boundary for six to guide Northampton to a five-wicket win.
Sussex’s overseas star Ross Taylor produced a magnificent innings to lead the Sharks to a narrow one-run Duckworth/Lewis success over Gloucestershire at Bristol. The New Zealander struck an unbeaten 93 including eight sixes and four boundary fours as the visitors went run crazy in the West of England. He found support from Ben Brown (43) and Matt Machan (31) as the visitors racked up a mammoth 242/5 from their 20 overs. And as they heavens opened every run proved crucial for the Sharks. After the hosts themselves got off to a flying start with the returning Michael Klinger smashing four 4’s and three sixes during his unbeaten 42 before the rain came. With heavy persistent rain continue the umpires decided enough was enough and with Gloucestershire just a run behind the par score on 83/1 from their 7.3 overs they faced they fell to a harsh one-run defeat in Bristol, but the game will be remembered for Taylor’s fireworks earlier in the day.
Somerset fell to a heavy defeat at Canterbury despite 91 from opener Jim Allenby as the hosts secured an eight-wicket win. The visitors batted first and the innings was dominated by Peter Trego (57) and skipper Allenby’s brilliant 91 as they reached 197/7. Fabien Cowdrey was the pick of the bowlers for Kent as he collected figures of 3-18 from his three overs to slow the Somerset charge. He picked up the wicket of Trego, who had hit four 4’s and four sixes before holing out Darren Stevens to fall with the score on 143/2. And his dismissal led a collapse of sorts with wickets falling regularly with Mitch Claydon (1-35) and David Griffiths (2-33) chipping away at the middle order alongside Cowdrey. And when Allenby became the last man to fall after hitting 10 fours and three sixes the hosts had made a competitive looking total of 197. But Kent have a dangerous batting line-up and many fancy them to go far in the competition. Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond are in fine form in the first-class game and they brought that form into the shortest format sharing a record t20 opening stand for Kent of 150. Denly smashed six sixes and five fours in his 38-ball 75 as he and Bell-Drummond took the hosts to a dominant position. Bell-Drummond tipped by many for big things ended unbeaten on 83 hitting eight fours and a couple of sixes. Denly fell to Tim Groenewald but by then it was all too little too late for the visitors, as Kent only needed 48 from seven-and-a-half overs. In the end, it was a stroll for the impressive hosts who reached their target with 16-balls the spare as Darren Stevens produced a little cameo to hit a four and a six to finish the job off.
A mixture of youth and experience guided Surrey to a narrow eight-run success over Essex at the Essex County Ground. Kumar Sangakkara hit 32 including six fours and a six during his 16-ball cameo before becoming one of four victims for Essex debutant Matt Quinn, who impressed with the ball for the Eagles. He took figures of 4-35 to be the pick of the Essex attack. But late runs from Tom Curran (32) and Azhar Mahmood (42) added vital late impetus for the visitors as they reach 170/8 from their 20-overs. The veteran Mahmood, 42-years young hit four fours and two sixes to top score for Surrey, and his runs were to prove crucial come 10pm. Essex’s reply got off the worst possible start losing skipper Ravi Bopara in early as the impressive Sam Curran struck in the first over. Things soon got worse for the hosts as Mahmood took two-in-two in the third over to leave Essex in trouble on 26/3. The Pakistani first had Jesse Ryder (13) top-edging a short ball behind to Gary Wilson, then youngster Dan Lawrence gifted him his second wicket by being strangled down the leg-side for a golden duck. Suddenly the Eagles were in trouble and the Essex faithful were left in stunned silence. Tom Westley, the in-form man for the hosts steadied the ship alongside the experienced Ryan ten Doeschate as the Eagles began to wrestle back the initiative but the big moment of the game came when Westley was adjudged leg before to Gareth Batty. He went for 46 reverse sweeping the experienced spinner, but replays suggested that the ball would go on to miss the leg stump. Another Essex debutant strode the middle in Ashar Zaidi, a plump looking fellow, but boy could he hit a long ball. Fresh from starring in the Bangladeshi Premier League, the former Sussex man looked set to win the hearts of the Essex crowd as he swatted ball after ball to the boundary. He shared 40 with ten Doeschate before the Dutch man found Sangakkara on the rope to fall for 36. Eight-runs later the game had effectively gone, when yet another poor decision cost Essex, dear. Zaidi looking to hit Sam Curran over fine legs head was hit on the foot and given leg before, but yet again the ball would’ve gone on to miss leg stump. Fortune was favouring the visitors and Essex despite some lusty blows from Graham Napier (19) fell short as Mahmood finished things off in the final over, taking two wickets in it to finish the match with figures of 4-38.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
All Alastair Cook Alex Hales BBC Radio Commentary Ben Coad Ben Duckett Birmingham Bears Chris Read County Championship County Cricket Dan Kingdom Darren Sammy David Bowden Day/Night Cricket Derbyshire Durham England Cricket Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hill James Anderson James Vince Jamie Ramage Joe Root Jofra Archer Jonny Bairstow Kent Kevin Hand Watch Kevin Hand-Watch Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Middlesex Natwest Blast Neil Harris Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire Previews Retrospective Reports RLODC Round Ups Round-ups Season Review Somerset Stuart Broad Surrey Sussex T20 Blast Team Of The Week Virdi Vitality Blast Warwickshire Wocestershire Worcestershire Yorkshire