London: Zimbabwe star Andy Flower's 98 guided Essex to a four wicket win over defending Benson and Hedges Cup champions Surrey on Thursday.
Set 224 for victory, Flower's composed innings helped Essex win with more than four overs to spare and left Surrey still looking for its first victory in this season's tournament. Such was left-hander Flower's dominance he forced Surrey and England pace duo Martin Bicknell and Alex Tudor out of the attack. Pakistan seamer Azhar Mahmood could not check Flower's progress and when Tudor returned the left-hander hooked him for six to move within two runs of a hundred. But next ball Tudor had Flower caught at extra-cover, ending an innings that lasted 114 balls and also included 11 fours. Earlier Essex medium-pacer Ronnie Irani took four for 38, England duo Mark Ramprakash (70 not out) and Surrey skipper Mark Butcher (62) making the only sizeable contributions. Elsewhere Yorkshire's Australian captain Darren Lehmann (72) and England all-rounder Craig White (71) helped the side pile up 271 for seven against Durham. Lehmann then took three for 29 with his left-arm spinners as Durham was skittled out for a meagre 147 to give Yorkshire a 124 run victory. In the day's other match Australia's Andrew Symonds helped Kent to a seven-wicket victory over Middlesex at Canterbury. The visitors made 133 for six in a rain reduced 19 overs, Symonds taking three for 28. Then Kent captain Matthew Fleming's 50 sent his team on its way before he was caught and bowled by Australian quickie Ashley Noffke.
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