Test Match Sofa
Key looking forward to CB40 knock-out stages
By Mark Pennell
Kent captain Rob Key was delighted to score his first one-day century for four years on Wednesday evening and improve his side’s chances of reaching the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals.
The 33-year-old former England batsman hit 101 from 109-balls in the Spitfires' comfortable home win over Yorkshire – his first three-figure contribution in limited-overs cricket since he posted his career-best 120 not out against Essex at St Lawrence in 2008.
As man-of-the-match, Key collected a magnum of champagne and a jewellery voucher for his troubles, but he was even more delighted at the prospect of leading his side in the knock-out stages.
“I said from a couple of overs out that 220 would be a half-decent score on that pitch, but I could never be sure what difference the dew coming down would make later in the evening,” explained the Spitfires’ skipper.
“It was dry when we batted on it, but sometimes here for floodlight games the dew can help the ball skid on to the bat that little bit more and improve the conditions if you’re batting second.
“We might have got a few more than 226 as it happened, but I got out to the worst ball I faced all night then they bowled really well at the death. As it was, we had enough.
“It was nice to get the hundred, especially given the timing of this game, and the most pleasing thing to me is that I’ve scored these runs when it mattered most to the team.
“We’re on the top of the table now and we find ourselves in a great position. Things are in our own hands going into the final game at home to Sussex, and you can’t really want for more than that."
Key also confirmed that, should Kent qualify for the last four of the event, he will hope to welcome former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood back to the startling line-up.
Mahmood is currently playing in the Sri Lanka Premier League Twenty20 event but should be back in England by CB40 semi-finals day on September 1.
Key added: “There’s every chance he’ll be back from the SLPL by then and, with luck, in good nick having played plenty of t20 out there. He went there with our blessing, but it would be good to have him back because, no matter what the format, he’s always wanted to bat up the order, he’s never shirked from his bowling duties and never shied away from bowling at the death.”
Kent and Mahmood’s immediate CB40 fate will be decided on Monday afternoon when the Spitfires welcome second-placed Sussex Sharks to Canterbury for what is effectively the Group C decider.
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