Somerset thrashed a hapless Northamptonshire in this evening’s Midlands/West/Wales Group encounter at Wantage Road. The Steelbacks struggled to 115 for six after being asked to bat with Steve Kirby doing the early damage taking two for 14 from his four overs, before the spin pairing of Arul Suppiah and George Dockrell sent down seven overs at a cost of just 34 runs as well as taking four wickets. Skipper Alex Wakely top-scored with 34, but it was never going to be enough – especially when Craig Kieswetter and Richard Levi got going. The pair added 61 inside the first six overs to put any doubts about the result to bed, with Levi hitting 35 from 18 balls and Kieswetter 51 from 35, as Somerset won with 38 balls and eight wickets to spare to remain top of the group with a haul of eight points from five matches.
A brace of smashing innings from Paul Stirling and Joe Denly was more than enough to hand Middlesex victory over Kent in their South Group match at Canterbury. Stirling made the early running during their opening partnership of 127 from 71 balls, as he bludgeoned 63 from just 37 deliveries, before Denly took over the reins following his departure to the ever-reliable James Tredwell (one for 23). Denly ended on 90 not out from 66 balls against his old county, with Kent seamers Azhar Mahmood and Matt Coles coming in for particularly rough treatment – conceding 94 from six overs between them – as Middlesex ended on 207 for two.
No team had ever chased down more than 200 at Canterbury and Steven Finn made sure that wasn’t about to change as he conceded just eight runs from a hostile opening spell that had Kent’s young openers in trouble. However, when the change bowlers came on, it was if a switch had been flicked, as Sam Northeast and Sam Billings launched a ferocious counterattack. Billings, in particular, impressed with the crispness of his strokes, before becoming the first man to fall for 43 from just 29 balls. Northeast followed shortly afterwards for 60 from 43 to the surprise success that was Neil Dexter’s (three for 22) slow medium-pace and the challenge, if ever there was one, was over. Kent ended on 159 for seven, while Middlesex’s win takes them off the bottom of the table.
Jonathon Lodwick kept Cambridge University in with a shout of winning the Varsity match against Oxford University by scoring a valiant 32 from number eight and taking two wickets late on the third day. The visitors had begun on 129 for three and lost a steady trickle of wickets, with Lodwick’s 32 from only 37 balls comfortably the day’s highest score as they were all out for 267. The home side’s openers took the score to 22 in their second innings, before Sam Agarwal was sent on his way by Paul Best for 19. Lodwick then struck twice with consecutive deliveries in the 14th over – dismissing Agarwal’s fellow opener Ben Jeffery for a tortured three that spanned 45 balls, prior to following that up with the wicket of night-watchman Alex Scott – as they reached stumps on 42 for three.
Tomorrow’s Fixtures: (start times in brackets, GMT)
North Group, Durham v Derbyshire at Chester-le-Street (1630)
North Group, Leicestershire v Yorkshire at Grace Road (1640)
Mid/West/Wales Group, Gloucestershire v Warwickshire at Bristol (1630)
South Group, Middlesex v Hampshire at Richmond (1630)
Weather Forecast: The forecast for tomorrow is for mostly dry weather with sunny spells and the chance of catching a heavy shower, especially in the east midlands. Temperatures will peak at between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius.
County News In Brief:
Worcestershire are hopeful that Pakistani overseas player Sohail Tanvir will be available for Friday night’s Friends Life t20 match against Glamorgan.
Sussex have not ruled out the possibility of overseas player Scott Styris playing through the pain in Thursday’s crucial match with Essex. The all-rounder badly dislocated a thumb during the reverse fixture at Hove on Sunday.
Warwickshire have fought off competition from other counties and have secured all-rounder Keith Barker on a new three-year deal.
© Cricket World 2012
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