July 11, 2001

Symonds leads Kent through at expense of Northants

Mark Pennell of the Kent Messenger Group

Queenslander Andrew Symonds won the Antipodean head-to-head with Northamptonshire's Michael Hussey to ease Kent into the quarter-finals of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy with a six wicket win achieved with 13-balls to spare.

Symonds, the 26-year-old all-rounder who took over as Kent's overseas player a fortnight ago following a knee injury to Daryll Cullinan, has yet to finish on the losing side since re-joining the club he served in 1999 and was clearly man-of-the-match in this one-sided encounter.

The Birmingham-born, but Australian-raised player returned career-best bowling figures of five for 21 to limit Northamptonshire to a 50-over total of 200 and then hit 39 from 40 balls to steer Kent into the last eight at a canter.

After winning the toss on a breezy, overcast morning, Kent's acting captain Mark Ealham had no hesitation in asking Northamptonshire to bat first.

The plan appeared to have backfired when Adrian Rollins and Mal Loye posted 50 for their first wicket inside 12 overs, but Ben Trott's removal of Rollins to a miscued pull shot and the introduction of Symonds from the Nackington Road end changed to course of the match.

Bowling his medium-paced seamers rather than the off-spinners he sent down for Australia in the recent NatWest Trophy international series, Symonds bagged five for six in 26 balls and five for 21 overall to reduce the visitors to 92 for seven.

An eighth wicket stand between Paul Taylor, with a career-best 57 in his 200th one-day appearance for the club, and David Ripley (35) added a vital 93, but even at 200 all out Northamptonshire's score appeared well below par.

Kent lost James Hockley and Rob Key early in their reply, but leading scorer David Fulton (63) and Matthew Walker (36) joined forces to post 64 for the third wicket.

Both fell in quick succession, but Symonds (39 not out) and his acting captain Ealham (27 not out) saw the hosts home in the best batting conditions of the day.