Stokes hastens Durham home
Durham’s left-handed batting prodigy Ben Stokes crashed 26 in an over to ease the reigning LV= County Champions to their second victory of the season with more than two sessions to spare against winless Kent.
Fresh from scoring a career-best unbeaten 161 in the first innings at Canterbury, the New Zealand-born teenager marched in to clatter an unbeaten 42 from 22 balls to secure the visitors a six-wicket win by 12.17pm on the final day of a fluctuating game.
Chasing 169 for victory and having resumed on their overnight score of 67 for three, Durham eased to within 52 of their target courtesy of a steady and sensible fourth-wicket stand of 80 between Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell.
Benkenstein was only one short of a half-century when he became Durham’s only casualty 11 overs into the final session. Advancing down the pitch when aiming a lofted shot over extra cover, the right-hander edged an overhead catch to Martin van Jaarsveld at slip to give Rob Ferley his only wicket in a costly eight-over spell of 1-54.
Blackwell pulled his left calf muscle running a single to take his score to 46 and was joined by runner Scott Borthwick in order to post his 60-ball half-century, with five fours and a six. Otherwise, Durham suffered no further alarms.
It was left to Stokes to win it in style with a six and five fours in the only over of the day from Kent’s part-time leg-spinner Joe Denly.
Stokes, only 18, took his match aggregate to an unbeaten 203 in the process and left Kent still without a win after 11 starts in all forms of cricket.