Yorkshire outclass Kent
Yorkshire 190 for 3 (McGrath 85*, Rudolph 41) beat Kent 189 for 9 (Stevens 60*, Cook 42) by 7 wickets
Yorkshire outplayed Kent in all departments of the game to win a convincing victory by seven wickets. Richard Pyrah was the best of a mean seam bowling attack, backed up by some superb catching, while Anthony McGrath played one of his special one-day innings to lead the charge home. Kent will be disappointed by their feeble batting and inaccurate bowling, while their fielding merely qualified as average.
One hour before play started, the scene at the North Marine Parade cricket ground in Scarborough looked like a county treasurer's dream - a massive crowd stretching far down the road outside. This was partly due to the strange delay by the local club in opening the gates but once they were inside, the attendance was estimated to be 3,000 - perhaps quite conservatively, but not as large or as vibrant as is usual at this venue.
Yorkshire won the toss and put Kent in to bat, expecting the ball to move around a bit, and not being disappointed. In the end, Kent did well to total 189 for 9, as they struggled to reach four runs an over for those of their innings. Deon Kruis almost yorked Joe Denly with the first ball of the match, a foretaste things to come.
In his next over Denly hit him superbly straight for four, while at the other end Rob Key survived a massive appeal for a catch at the wicket off Tim Bresnan. His escape did him little good, as shortly afterwards he nudged the same bowler to slip to depart for 9, and Martin van Jaarsveld (0) followed one outside off stump to edge Kruis to the keeper. Then Justin Kemp, before scoring, edged a ball just wide of slip, and Kent were truly struggling. After 10 overs the score was just 28 for 2.
There was a brief rally: Simon Cook opened his account with an excellent cut for four backward of point, and Kemp pulled short balls with power and disdain, mostly from Rana Naved. However, he needed a runner, having aggravated a back problem, and soon afterwards mistimed a straight drive, which was superbly caught by Jacques Rudolph at long off; he made 36.
Despite his efforts, though, the hundred only came up in the 26th over. Pyrah, virtually a one-day specialist and a very effective one, rocked Kent with two wickets in successive deliveries: a superb fast yorker beat and bowled Cook for a creditable 42, while the next ball cut back and had the new batsman Ryan McLaren caught behind off the inside edge. Kent were 120 for 6 in the 30th over.
The rest of the batting was the story of Darren Stevens. The tail gave him negligible support, but he played a superb lone hand, lofting Adil Rashid for a very high six over long-on and playing the major part in scoring 17 off the final over, bowled by Darren Gough. His 50 came off 38 balls and he finished unbeaten with 60, a most impressive fighting innings. Pyrah was the best bowler with 4 for 35, with Kruis taking 2 for 35. It was a puzzle why Bresnan, 1 for 10 off 5 overs, was not used again, but in the end it didn't matter. Gerard Brophy, the wicketkeeper, took four catches, two of them superb, and Adam Lyth also held a fine catch.
Much now depended on the performance of Kent's bowlers in these conditions. Amjad Khan was taken off after three erratic overs, by which time Yorkshire had scored 39 off six. He was replaced by McLaren, who immediately had Andrew Gale (14) driving a catch to cover. Inexplicably Naved came in next, to be sent packing, caught wicket reaching outside off stump, second ball.
Rudolph was batting well, especially superb with the cut and cover-drive, but he now reined himself in and settled down to forge a worthy stand with McGrath. Cook and McLaren also bowled very well in partnership, giving little away. Then McGrath began to get on top of Cook, hitting him for 19 in an over, the 16th of the innings, after which Yorkshire were 89 for 2. After this it was Yorkshire all the way. James Tredwell replaced Cook, but Rudolph hit him straight for six, and the hundred came up in the 19th over.
Runs were coming easily and Yorkshire were cruising when Robbie Joseph surprised Rudolph with a faster ball, which he edged to the keeper for 41 (56 balls). But with Brophy at the wicket, Yorkshire scarcely missed a beat, and McGrath went to his 50 off 52 balls. His most productive stroke could be called the off-glance, a nudge that went so fine that once it bisected the keeper and slip; invariably it reached the boundary.
Yorlshire did not falter, and the crowd realised victory was assured when McGrath lofted Tredwell for two leg-side sixes, although the second was almost caught. They had almost seven overs to spare when McGrath hit the winning runs, taking his score to 85 off only 80 balls. Brophy played an unsung but invaluable role for 38 not out.
Much the best bowler was McLaren, who bowled just five overs to take 2 for 16; Kent erred in keeping, presumably, his remaining three overs for the 'death' which never came.