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May 25, 2009
Durham suffered a major scare against Nottinghamshire before finally edging over the line by one wicket off the final ball at Trent Bridge. It needed Mitchell Claydon to swing the last delivery through midwicket to settle the match. Ian Blackwell clubbed 59 off 33 balls and added 103 in 10 overs with former captain Dale Benkenstein (53 off 33), including 22 off one Darren Pattinson over, after the top order collapsed to 27 for 4. However, with the target in sight the batting faltered again as five wickets fell for 33. The scores were tied at the start of the final over, but Gordon Muchall was bowled by Mark Ealham and Graham Onions run out as a tie started to loom. Nottinghamshire's top order also folded quickly and it needed a career-best 75 from Will Jefferson, who added 103 with Chris Read, to set a competitive total.
Ajmal Shahzad came to the rescue of Yorkshire after they appeared to be throwing victory away against Leicestershire at Headingley. With two overs remaining 22 were needed when Shahzad took Jim Allenby for 16, including a six that was palmed over the ropes by James Taylor. Then, in the final over bowled by Wayne White, he scampered the winning run with a ball to spare. Michael Vaughan earlier top-scored with 35 off 30 balls but was part of a collapse that brought 5 for 15. Leicestershire struggled with the bat and after eight overs had just 38 on the board, but HD Ackerman held the innings together with 66 off 56 balls. Rana Naved was given permission to play shortly before the match after receiving his termination agreement from the ICL and Headingley's outfield also stood up to the test.
Ian Harvey marked his return to the Twenty20 arena with 4 for 18 to help his latest county Northamptonshire to a 17-run victory against Warwickshire at Wantage Road. Harvey showed he's lost none of his skill even though he was used as the seventh option by his captain Nicky Boje. He remove Ian Westwood to begin with, but most crucially ended Jim Troughton's half century as he was guiding Warwickshire's chase. The middle order struggled to keep up the asking rate and Harvey grabbed two more at the death. It had been a less successful return with the bat as Harvey fell for 12, but a trio of aggressive forties from Rob White, Niall O'Brien and Boje set up the home side for a useful total. White's 40 came from just 15 balls as he launched the innings a blaze of boundaries.
Worcestershire responded to the harsh words from coach Steven Rhodes and bounced back from their shock defeat to Ireland last week with a hard-fought 22-run victory against Gloucestershire at New Road. Ball dominated throughout the match and the home side's attack successfully defended a modest 145. Will Porterfield and Hamish Marshall began the chase well, but Ashley Noffke changed the momentum when he took a good catch, running back, at mid-on to remove Marshall. The spinners, Gareth Batty and Ian Fisher, took five wickets between them as the visitors' batting faded away. Worcestershire had to battle to reach 145, thanks to Noffke and Daryl Mitchell, with Gemaal Hussain taking two wickets on an impressive debut.
Glamorgan snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory against Somerset as a late collapse left then with a one-run lossat Cardiff. In a low-scoring game, Ben Wright and Mark Wallace added 63 after a top-order collapse but with the winning line in sight the home side imploded. Max Waller, the 21-year-old legspinner making his debut, impressed with 3 for 17. Wallace was caught on the boundary and four more wickets tumbled to leave No. 11 Garnett Kruger needing three off the last ball but he could only manage a single. Somerset had been indebted to Zander de Bruyn's 70 to lift them into three figures after they slumped to 67 for 6 following early failures for Marcus Trescothick and James Hildreth.
Hampshire launched their Twenty20 season in convincing style as they cruised to a nine-wicket win against Sussex at The Rose Bowl. Hamza Riazuddin did the early damage with 3 for 15 to set the visitors back including the scalp of Luke Wright first ball. Only Dwayne Smith, the former West Indies allrounder, made much of an impression with 63 off 46 balls, but Dominic Cork's late wickets ensured there was no real recovery. A target of 135 meant Hampshire could ease along and Jimmy Adams guided the chase with a confident 68 off 49 balls.
Kent, last year's runners-up, and Essex had to settle for a share of the points after the weather closed in at Canterbury. The home side had reached 16 without loss in the fourth over chasing a demanding 188, but with Rob Key and Joe Denly at the crease an exciting game was in prospect. Alastair Cook had tried to shed his stodgy image with a first Twenty20 half century as his 80 off 56 deliveries proved the cornerstone of Essex's total. The lower order didn't quite make the most of the platform, but the weather had the final say.
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