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July 7, 2013
Middlesex 142 for 1 (Rossington 74) beat Kent 140 for 6 by nine wickets
On a day when British thoughts were largely centred around Andy Murray's first Wimbledon title, Middlesex served up a demolition of Kent at Uxbridge. Adam Rossington's domineering 74, taking advantage of a scorching day, flat track and unthreatening bowling, exposed the inadequacy of Kent's 140.
Kent's day was rather summed up when Rossington was caught at midwicket by Sam Northeast, only for Northeast to touch the rope and concede a six. Rossington hardly required such assistance.
A few days ago, he was seen briefly on Sky TV strolling out with a broad grin on his face to face a couple of balls and win a last-over finish against Essex in front of 20,000 at Lord's. Not remotely as many witnessed a more extensive display of his powers.
On this occasion, It was an innings marked by powerful driving and a relish for hitting the ball in the air; at one stage Darren Stevens was lashed for four boundaries in five balls. Rossington described opening as "the best time to bat" but said that he expects to slip back down the order when Paul Stirling returns from Ireland duty.
But this was a victory set-up in Kent's innings - their total always felt at least 40 runs below par. It was little wonder that there were no shortage of iPads and smart phones on display during Kent's meandering effort, as spectators were understandably distracted by Murray's efforts at Wimbledon.
And even the 140 they recorded owed much to the generosity of Middlesex's fielders: four catches were spilled as players struggled to pick up the ball against the backdrop of the afternoon sun.
Kyle Mills, the Zealand seamer, alone had three catches spilled of his bowling, but, despite a couple of no balls, he was quick and canny in claiming 2-28, bowling at either end of the innings. His opening partner, Toby Roland-Jones, has struggled to replicate his outstanding first-class form in the shortest format. Not today: four parsimonious overs included the scalp of Rob Key to a crafty slower ball.
Much of Kent's batting had a harebrained feel. They are over-reliant on Darren Stevens. After he fell for a belligerent 25, the innings lacked a sense of impetus. Kent have the feeling of a side that badly needs renewal: Adam Blake and Sam Billings, who both hit enterprising cameos, need to become consistent scorers.
Amid the hype about the start of the Ashes at Trent Bridge, Geraint Jones, who made 85 in 2005 there, hit a sparkly 22 to provide a little nostalgia. It was his first T20 game of the season, and seemingly an appearance he had not expected: on Thursday Jones had used his Twitter account to say that "The only positive to come out of not playing the T20's is I can now enjoy guilt free beer day before game!"
Vernon Philander's pace was Kent's last chance of making a contest of the game. Rossington ensured otherwise, driving with panache on both side of the wicket.
Implausible as it sounds of a 37-ball 74, Rossington didn't thrash from ball one, taking nine deliveries over his first two runs. The game was over long before he was bowled attempting to swing a fifth six. It was a deserved scalp for Tredwell, parsimonious amid the pandemonium unleashed at the other end.
That left just enough time for a final flourish from Tredwell's former teammate. Joe Denly's six off Philander - launching him over mid-wicket after shimmying down the wicket - was a reminder of the qualities that briefly seduced England's limited overs selectors. He is a way off an England recall, but how Kent would love him back. They have now lost their first four Twenty20 games: the shortest format is proving no relief in their grim season.
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