Underdogs Kent shocked the defending champions Nottinghamshire on their home ground Trent Bridge in the Royal London One Day Cup quarter-final. Kent dominated their hosts, winning by nine wickets, with Harry Podmore (4-57) starring with the ball and Heino Kuhn (124 not out) with the bat.
Kent captain Sam Billings, released from England duty to play in the game along with Nottinghamshire bowler Jake Ball, won the toss, electing to bowl first and it was clear to see why. 23-year-old seamer Harry Podmore, who was only
in the side because of an injury to Mitchell Claydon, opened the bowling alongside New Zealander Matt Henry and proceeded to wreak havoc with the Nottinghamshire top-order.
The experienced Chris Nash was the first to go, caught behind by Billings for 0 as the first of Podmore’s scalps. Tom Moores followed soon after for 7, also caught behind off Podmore before Henry got in on the action, claiming the prize wicket of his international colleague Ross Taylor LBW for 1.
Podmore then removed dangerous Rikki Wessels for 13, holing out to Daniel Bell-Drummond at deep mid-wicket with Nottinghamshire in a world of trouble at 23-4 in the tenth over and looking desperately at Trent Bridge stalwarts Samit Patel and captain Steven Mullaney to dig them out of a hole.
The two did their best, halting Kent’s momentum as they shared a 70 run partnership until spinner Imran Qayyum removed Patel who was caught at short cover by Heino Kuhn. Mullaney then passed 50 himself and shared another good partnership with Billy Root, the younger brother of England Test captain Joe, worth 79 runs but the Qayyum and Kuhn combination struck again, Kuhn this time taking a simpler catch at mid-wicket.
Kent conduct masterful chase
With the score 172-6 with just over nine overs to go, all the pressure was on Mullaney who was approaching his hundred to drag Nottinghamshire to a competitive total but he fell an agonising 10 runs short of three figures, with Podmore adding a fourth wicket to his tally. Qayyum took a magnificent catch at short third man after Mullaney looked to clip the ball through the circle and although he was unable to finish Nottinghamshire’s innings, it was a real captain’s innings from the all-rounder who did his utmost to give his side some sort of total to defend.
With less than five overs to go it was down to the tail to finish the innings off on a high and Luke Fletcher, a fan-favourite at Nottinghamshire, heaved a massive six off Podmore, his side’s first of the match and his cameo half-century of 53 not out was invaluable for the home side as they finished their innings on 255-8.
However, the Kent chase started brilliantly, with Kuhn and Bell-Drummond sharing a mammoth 194 run partnership as Nottinghamshire failed to get the early wickets they needed to put Kent on the back foot. In fact, both Kuhn and Bell-Drummond dominated the Nottinghamshire bowling attack, making a below-par score look even worse.
Kuhn continued his recent good form, dominating the partnership and making an excellent century while Bell-Drummond played the supporting role, scoring 79 before he was stumped by Moores off the bowling of off-spinner Matthew Carter.
It was a brief moment of celebration for the current One Day Cup champions but the wicket meant little to the end result as Kuhn moved on to an unbeaten 124.
Joe Denly made a quick-fire 52 off 28 balls in an exciting cameo which included five sixes as Kent chased down the lacklustre Nottinghamshire total with nine wickets in hand and 14 overs to spare.
Kent will face Worcestershire at New Road on June 17 in the Royal London One Day Cup semi-final as they fight for a place in the final at Lords on June 30.
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