Kent into Twenty20 final

Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008, 21:30 [IST]
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Reigning champions Kent put themselves in the frame for a big pay-out after beating Essex in the first semi-final of English cricket's Twenty20 Cup at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Victory qualified Kent for the multi-million dollars Champions League due to be held in India in India later this year although that event is threatened by a dispute over whether players involved in the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) will be allowed to take part.

And should Kent beat either Middlesex or Durham in the final later on Saturday they will book their place in the Super Series - the latest creation of American billionaire Allen Stanford, where they will be up against the England national side and a Caribbean All-Stars team.

Kent made 173 for seven which might have been more had not in-form openers Robert Key and Joe Denly succumbed to spin in the shape of Pakistan leg-break bowler Danish Kaneria and off-break specialist James Middlebrook respectively.

Essex made a similarly brisk start to their innings but lost wickets regularly and their innings never quite recovered from the exit for just three of big-hitting Graham Napier, well caught by Kent captain Key, running back from mid-off.

Mark Pettini, the Essex captain, made a fine fifty before he was run out and, although his side got their target down to 18 off nine balls, the loss of Ryan ten Doeschate, bowled by Pakistan's Azhar Mahmood, effectively secured Kent's victory.

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