Gilchrist thrives on new responsibility
Emergency skipper Adam Gilchrist answered Middlesex Panthers’ call by cracking a 47-ball century to ease them to a comfortable six-wicket Friends Provident t20 win over Kent Spitfires at Canterbury.
The 38-year Australia 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 six to open their South Group win account with an over to spare.
Udal had quit following a team meeting held in the St Lawrence Ground dressing rooms just after 3pm.
Gilchrist won the toss and asked the hosts to bat. The crowd watched Kent captain Rob Key depart in the second over after feathering a catch to Gilchrist.
Joe Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld 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 on 44, 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.
The Spitfires maintained their impetus through knocks of 39 from Geraint Jones and the 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 his off stump when heaving across the line and Jones danced across his stumps to go lbw, to give Collins a haul of 3-38 and set Middlesex an asking rate of 9.2 an over.
After the early loss of compatriot David Warner for 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, who will take on the Middlesex captaincy long-term, holed out to deep midwicket.
Gilchrist and Eoin Morgan both fell with seven needed for victory, leaving Owais Shah and Dawid Malan to complete the win.