Van Jaarsveld lifts struggling Kent
Kent 291 for 7 beat Worcestershire 205 by 86 runs
Martin van Jaarsveld's 78-ball century put Kent on the way to an 86-run win against Worcestershire in a battle of the Clydesdale Bank 40 strugglers at New Road. The South African, continuing as captain in the absence of Rob Key, made 124 towards a total of 291 for 7, which proved to be way beyond Worcestershire's capabilities as they were dismissed for 205 in the 35th over.
Kent brought in four of their youngsters - including Daniel Bell-Drummond and Adam Ball from England's Under-19 one-day series with South Africa - as director of cricket Paul Farbrace responded to a miserable run of results at first-team level. Farbrace spoke of a "horrible'' period in which they lost to Holland and Derbyshire in CB40 group games and crashed to an innings defeat to Gloucestershire in a County Championship fixture at the Cheltenham Festival.
Benefiting from a week off to regroup and consider options, they came out firing in the midlands and comfortably reversed an early-season defeat when the teams met at Canterbury. That was Worcestershire's only win in the 40-over competition this season and any chance of making it a double was quickly extinguished by Van Jaarsveld's high-quality ball-striking for a dozen fours and two sixes.
Sam Billings, the 20-year-old wicketkeeper, launched the innings with five fours in reaching 26 and Van Jaarsveld initially had no need to rush while Bell-Drummond advanced to 42 from 30 balls with five fours and two sixes. Coming into the side after four fifties in seven England Under-19 innings this month, the young opener, who will be 18 on Thursday, looked comfortable on his List A debut until he was caught by Daryl Mitchell at slip off Saeed Ajmal.
It was then that Van Jaarsveld stepped up the pace, putting on 59 with Darren Stevens and making 75 of the 107 added for the fourth wicket with Sam Northeast (30). Offspinner Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 42 and Jack Shantry also took three wickets, although the seamer only salvaged an expensive return with two wickets in his final over. His dismissal of Van Jaarsveld owed much to Moeen Ali's sprint around the boundary to take a catch at long on.
Moeen then gave Worcestershire some hope with 55 in 35 balls - including 23 off a first over by 19-year-old off-spinner Adam Riley - but the challenge petered out when he fell to Simon Cook (3 for 40).
Riley held Moeen's mis-hit drive to wide mid-off and, to his credit, he later retrieved his bowling figures when coming back for five overs at a manageable cost of 22. On-loan paceman David Balcombe finished the innings with 4 for 38 and Gareth Andrew's 33 was the best of the rest for Worcestershire.