Friends Provident: Kent beat Durham to reach

Published: Saturday, July 5, 2008, 1:04 [IST]
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London: Martin van Jaarsveld's third hundred this week helped propel Kent into the final of the Friends Provident Trophy, English domestic cricket's premier 50-over event, as they beat holders Durham.

Former South Africa batsman van Jaarsveld backed up his twin unbeaten centuries against Surrey in the County Championship with a superb 122 not out off 93 balls, while rising English star Joe Denly made 102 as visitors Kent comprehensively defeated Durham by 83 runs at the Riverside on Friday.

Those two hundreds formed the backbone of an impressive total of 301 for four with discarded England fast bowler Stephen Harmison taking all the wickets to fall as he showed some of his old fire on the way to a haul of four for 47.

Durham's South African captain Dale Benkenstein gave the hosts hope with a fine innings of 80 not out.

But when Will Smith, who helped his skipper add 108 for the fourth wicket, was out the innings started to fall away and, although there was a brief flurry from former South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock, Durham lost their last five wickets for 10 runs.

Van Jaarsveld, who cuts a distinctive figure at the crease with a 'baseball' style backlift that sees the blade of his bat held vertically high above the stumps as the bowler runs in, struck three sixes and nine fours.

He initially took his time, with the stylish Denly allowing him to settle without worrying he was stalling the run-rate.

But he then the tempo in an expertly paced innings watched by a crowd including van Jaarsveld's father, who had travelled over from South Africa.

Denly rode his luck early on and was dropped on 37. But he showed his class with several stylish drives and kept his composure after being hit on the head by a Harmison bouncer.

The Durham spearhead, bowling with real venom in a spell where he topped 90mph, eventually bowled Denly off his pads.

In a match featuring several South Africans, van Jaarsveld slog-swept compatriot Albie Morkel for two sixes in one over with his other shot that cleared the ropes also coming off the seam bowler.

Morkel's seven wicketless overs cost a highly expensive 75 runs.

That this was going to be Kent's day was clear when Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood had Michael di Venuto lbw, even though the Australian edged the ball onto his pads.

England one-day captain and local hero Paul Collingwood, looking for runs ahead of next week's first Test against South Africa, made 36 before he was plumb lbw to Ryan McLaren after going across his stumps.

Kent, who haven't won a Lord's final since 1978, will now face the winners of Saturday's second semi-final between Essex and Yorkshire at 'the home of cricket' on August 16.


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