By Mark Kidger (@MarkfromMadrid)
There will be a new name on the Royal London One Day Cup this year. Nottinghamshire, the holders, were Kuhned to defeat, as have been various other sides this season.
This competition has had its twists and turns. Nottinghamshire had a wobbly start and got through thanks to wins in the last two games, as other results went their way. Kent lost their first two games, and their fans more or less gave up on the competition: in fact, the bookies had them as the rank outsiders of the six sides that had qualified. There was though nothing rank about the Kent performance. Save for a few overs at the death; this match was as one-sided as anything that we have seen all competition. In fact, Kent were so superior that you almost felt sorry for The Outlaws, who lost with more than 14 overs to spare.
First, Nottinghamshire ran into Harry Podmore. When you want to set a competitive total, stumbling to 23-4 in the tenth over is not the best way to start. Podmore’s first spell was 6-1-25-3. He is not the first player to leave Middlesex in search of regular 1st XI cricket and to thrive elsewhere, something that should give pause for thought to the Middlesex management, who have seen their side make a somewhat underwhelming impact this season. Podmore’s case though was undoubtedly helped by the Mean Machine at the other end: playing Muttley, to Podmore’s Dick Dastardly, Matt Henry produced an opening spell of 6-3-10-1. Samit Patel and Steve Mullaney tried to revive the innings and, at least, stabilised it. Billy Root then continued the support, but it was laboured progress. When the last ten overs started, Nottinghamshire were 168-5 and in no position to make a really competitive total.
The only moment when Nottinghamshire could feel that the match was running their way was when Luke Fletcher came in on the fall of Billy Root and started to blast the ball in all directions aided, in the last five overs, by the equally brutal Matthew Carter. The 59 added from those last five overs lifted Nottinghamshire to a possibly defendable total and let them feel that the momentum was with them. However, to defend this total, Nottinghamshire needed a good start. With their potent attack, there was no reason why Kent should not be rocked back on their heels. That was the theory. The reality was that, after ten overs, Kent were 76-0, with Kuhn 62* and only a complete disaster could stop a Kent victory.
Kuhn was absolutely brutal. Nottinghamshire came, they saw him and they conked-out.
As the scoring accelerated, Daniel Bell-Drummond, who was almost a sleeping partner initially, came out of his shell and accelerated too. Finally, having dispatched the first two balls of the 29th over for a 6 and a 4, he ran down the pitch, swung, missed and was stumped by yards. You got the impression that, with the match all but won, he wanted someone else to have a chance to bat. The next 3.3 overs went for just eight runs: were Nottinghamshire back in the match? Were they, hell!!! After this brief quiet spell, the next ten balls produced 3x6 and 3x4, as Joe Denly raced to 30 from 17 balls and Kuhn ended his short sabbatical with a volley of boundaries.
Kuhn ended up with 124* from 114 balls. Denly 52* from 28 balls. It was as one-sided as it sounds.
If you apply the formula “double the score after 30 overs”, Kent would have ended their 50 overs 394-2: 255-8 was never going to challenge them. This was as good as the brilliant Kent sides who, jointly with Lancashire, ruled limited-overs cricket in the 1970s. Well played Kent!
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