Captain Gilchrist lifts Middlesex with 47-ball ton
Middlesex 185 for 4 beat Kent 183 for 6 by six wickets
Emergency skipper Adam Gilchrist answered the Middlesex call by cracking a 47-ball century to ease the visitors to a comfortable six-wicket Friends Provident t20 win over Kent in Canterbury. The 38-year Australian Test great was thrust into the captaincy role following Shaun Udal's mid-afternoon resignation and responded by smashing 106, with nine fours and seven sixes.
With Gilchrist leading from the front, the visitors easily chased down Kent's 183 for 6 to open their South Group win account with an over to spare. Udal had quit following a team meeting held in the St Lawrence dressing rooms just after 3pm.
Gilchrist won the toss and asked the hosts to bat in front of a disappointing Canterbury crowd of barely 3,000 who witnessed the loss of Kent captain Rob Key in the second over after feathering a catch to Gilchrist. Joe Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld (50) joined forces to add 70 for the second wicket inside eight overs, taking advantage of some undisciplined bowling and a short boundary on the lime tree side of the ground.
Both right-handers clattered seven fours but Denly, when looking to advance and hit Shaun Udal over his head, effectively yorked himself allowing Gilchrist to collect and whip off the bails for a stumping. Van Jaarsveld raced to a 31-ball half-century but fell to the very next delivery when chipping a Neil Dexter slower ball to Pedro Collins at square leg.
Spitfires maintained their impetus through Geraint Jones and in-form Darren Stevens in a five-over partnership worth 58. The stand ended when Stevens swatted the 23rd ball of his stay to long-off. Azhar Mahmood lost off stump when heaving across the line and Jones danced across his stumps to go lbw, to give Collins a three for 38 haul and set Middlesex an asking rate of 9.2 an over.
After the early loss of David Warner (17), Gilchrist teamed up with former Kent favourite Neil Dexter to bat the hosts out of contention with a stunning second-wicket stand of 104 in nine overs. After chipping four sixes in his 45, Dexter holed out to deep mid-wicket.
Gilchrist and Eoin Morgan, who was bowled for a second-ball duck, both fell with seven needed for victory, leaving Owais Shah and Dawid Malan to complete the win.