Henderson heroics see Middlesex into final

Published: Sunday, July 27, 2008, 0:30 [IST]
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South Africa's Tyron Henderson smashed a quickfire unbeaten 59 to see Middlesex into the final of English cricket's Twenty20 Cup on Saturday as they thrashed Durham by eight wickets.

Victory at the Rose Bowl qualified Middlesex for the multi-million dollars Champions League due to be held in India later this year - although that event is threatened by a dispute regarding the involvement of players from the rebel Indian Cricket League.

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

Henderson, 33, who played one Twenty20 international for South Africa two years ago, took some of the shine off Stephen Harmison's day by striking the fast bowler for two huge sixes just hours after the fast bowler had been recalled to the England squad for next week's third Test against the Proteas.

After coming in at 65 for two, Henderson needed just 21 balls for his runs which featured seven sixes and two fours.

Middlesex, chasing a modest target of 139, won with more than three overs to spare - a huge comfort zone in Twenty20 terms as they won at the Rose Bowl, where they will face Kent in the final later Saturday.

Earlier, former Hampshire and England off-spinner Shaun Udal, back on his old home ground, helped put a break on Durham's innings. He dismissed England one-day captain Paul Collingwood, also recalled to the Test squad, Saturday for 35 and finished with fine figures of one for 18 from his maximum four overs.

Udal's fellow spinner Murali Karthik was equally miserly, the India international also conceding a mere 18 runs in his four-over spell.

West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scored for Durham with 48 off 47 balls but Durham's innings never really recovered from losing Australian opener Michael DiVenuto for nought.

Reigning champions Kent came through a far more tense encounter before beating Essex by 14 runs in Saturday's first semi-final at the Rose Bowl.

Kent made 173 for seven which might have been more had not in-form openers Robert Key and Joe Denly succumed 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. Essex got their target down to 18 off nine balls but when Ryan ten Doeschate was bowled by Pakistan's Azhar Mahmood Kent's victory was all but assured.

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