Kent v Indians, Canterbury August 27, 2011

Indians win despite Denly ton


Indians 164 for 6 off 20 overs (Kohli 78, Rohit 30, Tredwell 2-18) beat Kent 159 for 5 (Denly 100, RP Singh 2-36) by 5 runs

A century from Joe Denly went in vain as Kent failed to make eight runs off the final over, and lost an exciting match to the Indians by five runs. Riding on Virat Kohli's vibrant 78, the Indians had managed to set up a challenging target, but Denly, who has played five Twenty20 internationals for England in addition to nine ODIs, drove the chase before he was bowled seven balls from the end.

Originally meant to be a 50-over encounter, the match was converted to a 20-over one after rain delayed the start. It was a long Friday for everyone. After the rain had played spoilsport, news poured in that a suspect package was found near the Canterbury West Railway Station and there was a fire in the Marks & Spencer store near the team hotel. The main road leading to the city centre from the St Lawrence county ground had been cut off. Still, the die-hard fans, who had bought tickets months in advance and had waded through the streams of water gushing down from the slope at the ground entrance, did not panic and leave. Instead they stayed put and even enjoyed the bhangra music, performed by the local group Jugnu, who kept the crowd going through the afternoon and evening.

And what an evening it was. It belonged entirely to Denly till Munaf Patel's nail-biting final over. Denly had started on the wrong foot when he charged at RP Singh and tried to hit the third ball of the chase over the bowler's head. He only succeeded in getting an inside-edge that raced down to the fine-leg boundary. RP Singh followed that up with two wides.

When Vinay Kumar came in from the Nackington Road end, Denly flicked him for consecutive boundaries, beating a harried Parthiv Patel at deep square leg. Denly then swept Amit Mishra for a flat six to move quickly into the 40s. When Mishra returned from the Pavilion end, Denly cut him for another easy four.

Only R Ashwin managed to keep Denly quiet, with the batsman smartly respecting him once he realised he could take easy runs off the other bowlers. No other Kent batsman managed to cross 17 but that was also because Denly took most of the strike during the two major partnerships in the innings. A 60-run stand for the second wicket with Martin van Jaarsveld helped Kent stay in the race. Denly then combined well with allrounder Darren Stevens in a 73-run stand.

Forty-nine runs were needed from the last six overs. That became 37 from the last four. Denly pulled RP Singh for a four and then cleared cow corner with a powerful six. Eighteen were need from 12 deliveries. Denly got to his hundred with a hard-run two off a free hit. But the very next ball, he was caught in two minds as his body was positioned to play the pull but the arc of his bat suggested he wanted to cut it, and he ended up being bowled.

Kent needed a further eight runs from the final six deliveries. Munaf, who had been off colour during the Indians' tour game in Hove, bowled off a slightly shorter run-up but put in more effort. He gave away two singles off the first two balls and then kept Sam Northeast guessing with his lengths off the next two deliveries. Stevens and the Kent fans were growing anxious. Off the fifth ball Stevens charged for a single when Northeast failed to connect. Northeast failed to reach the non-striker's end, meaning the hosts still needed six off the last ball. Munaf clean bowled Stevens with a yorker and let out a shriek.

India had recovered well in their innings after Parthiv Patel was dismissed off the third ball of the match. Rahul Dravid, a former overseas player for Kent, failed to make an impact, falling for 15 when he pulled straight to short midwicket where James Tredwell dived forward brilliantly to complete the catch.

Over the last year Kohli has proved that he can bat comfortably in his own space and not let anything distract him. In Hove he had led India towards their target without breaking a sweat in the company of Rohit Sharma. The only difference in Canterbury was Rohit remained largely a bystander throughout their 69-run stand for the third wicket as Kohli doused the Kent bowling with a straight blade, a sharp eye, powerful wrists and good footwork. India had scored just one boundary by the end of the third over when Kohli came in. Immediately he flicked Matt Coles past the fine-leg boundary, then hit over mid-off for two, and improvised the very next ball by hitting over the bowler's head for another boundary.

It was at the same venue that Kohli had made 123 in a Youth Test against the likes of Steven Finn and Adil Rashid back in 2006. Kohli was in a dominant mood today as he clobbered a full toss from Stevens high over deep midwicket. He then pulled offspinner Adam Riley over deep square leg for his second six and, in his next over, cleared his back foot and swatted Riley high over long-off for another six.

Sadly Kohli's innings ended abruptly as he slog-swept Tredwell towards deep midwicket where Denly fumbled, prompting Suresh Raina to call for a second run. Kohli seemed happy with the single but Raina's desperate calls forced him to respond and even a full-stretched dive could not save him from being run out. A disappointed Kohli let Raina know that there was no need for a rushed extra run. He needn't have worried. He had helped India to a winning target.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    Gambhir to miss ODI Series" but.................. he will be fit for champions league... ha ha ha... jaaago India.... they not playing for country they playing fo money....

  • Vikram on August 28, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    I understand why u r not optimistic about indias chances if u had been asked about Indian teat team one month back u would have said they r unbeatable at home . Even in spinning tracks in India swann was k in the world cup and mishra did not bowl on day four and five of the fourth test so I don't think it's fair to measure a player like mishra and Indian team on one series. A fresher team would be better competition even on England conditions I think but I dont think I can say that now. But one thing is for sure fresher Indian test team on Indian soil I think they are unbeatable .

  • Cricket on August 28, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    @dickyboy, OliverWebber and sd001. With reference to my last post I don't think India will be the challenge that it used to be due to their lack of quality spin bowlers. If the pitches do favour spin then that would bring England in the Swann factor and possibly Panesar. India's 'pace' bowlers swing the ball as much as England but lack their pace. England were also able to move the ball off the seam more regularly than India. If England maintain their form and adjust to the conditions quickly and BCCI continue to focus on 20-20 and ODIs then I think it hard to see why India would be favourites to win a Test series merely because it's at home. Winning a series in the WIndies was previously unimaginable but India did that recently - does it make India a great team? No because of the quality of the current WIndies team. So if Engalnd win agianst a substandard India in India will they be a great team? This is what I meant by it's all relative.

  • Oliver on August 28, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    OK you can prepare a a pitch that favours seam and bounce, yes. In this series we had 3 like that and one (the Oval) which gave an advantage to spinners. If you remember Mishra didn't exactly cover himself in glory at the Oval (well - only with the bat!) I didn't see what Bresnan said, but if you read the British press, everyone acknowledges that it will be a big challenge winning in the subcontinent, and it's also widely accepted that good teams need to be able to play in all sorts of conditions, and that the current England team haven't (yet!) been successful in Asia. I don't think fair-minded fans have the slightest objection to conditions favouring spin - it's the variety of pitches and conditions that make cricket such an interesting game. Most England fans are hugely looking forward to this challenge!

  • Srinjay on August 28, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    well said dicky_boy,england need to prove their mettle in india...which i doubt they will do.even the great australian side did manage to win only once in india by 2-1,that too because chennai test was washed out for a day with india needing 210 to win with 10 wickets in's really difficult to win test series in india.

  • Vikram on August 28, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    And Oliver I meant seaming and swinging conditions including pitch and all. But when India try to prepare spinning tracks everyone makes a huge thing about it

  • Vikram on August 28, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    Oliver I acccpt engalnd are a good test side but only in countries like England aus and southafrica not in the subcontinent and I don't understand why players like Tim bresnan can be so disrespectful of top Indian players after winning a series at home . If they win in India I accept they are best side but I highly doubt it

  • Oliver on August 27, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    @dicky_boy - there's no such thing as a "swinging" pitch! Swing is in fact not fully explained by science but depends to some extent on atmospheric conditions as well as the bowler's skill. Anderson (and all the English bowlers) performed outstandingly in the Ashes last winter, in conditions which were supposed not to favour swing or seam. You're quite right that he has had terrible results in one-day cricket - he is not a reliable one-day bowler, but in tests he is superb. The sooner people realise that performance in one format doesn't guarantee success in another, the better: England are an excellent test side, but a mediocre one-day side (although their 20-20 performances are better than in 50 overs). India are an excellent one-day side, but their test match form has dropped off spectacularly. It's pointless to claim that world cup success means anything for tests, just as it's pointless to predict the one-day results based on test form!

  • Vikram on August 27, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    Well said burnie ten gland could not win a world cup at home or away chokers. And they prepared swinging pitches so their bowlers looked good . Please remember james Anderson in the world cup he was terrible even with Ireland and bangladesh so their bowling just seems better now that's all

  • Cricket on August 27, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    For those who think that the real measure of England's progress is whether they can win in India and Sri Lanka, please beware as it's all relative. India has been the final frontier for many teams mainly because of the quality of spin. In the last few years we have had the great Kumble and/or Harbajan or there has been another spinner that has come in and performed as a one-off. Harbajan now appears to be at a crossroads. Usually he plays well for a short while after a layoff then fades away. Of greater concern, there is no healthy competetion for places. So does India have the firepower to bowl England out twice in Indian conditions? We will have to see but until then bowlers must be managed. Ishant was heavily criticised for his recent performances but please remember he is only 22 and has already bowled a lot. Fast bowlers reach their peak from 26/27 onwards and until then he must managed carefully to avoid wasting potential like Irfan Pathan, Munaf, Balaji, Sreesanth and so.

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