Coles puts holes in Yorkshire
Matt Coles continued his devastating form against Yorkshire this season by claiming 6-32 to put Kent on course for a four-wicket victory in the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C clash at Headingley Carnegie.
The 22-year all-rounder, who has been included in the England Lions squad for the match against West Indies, scored his maiden century in the opening LV= County Championship fixture on the ground and, in the return clash at Canterbury, claimed four wickets in Yorkshire’s only innings.
Coles picked up his scalps in two lethal bursts today, which restricted Yorkshire to 175 for nine. Although Kent had only four balls to spare at the end of their innings, they were never put under any real pressure.
Sam Billings and Rob Key made a sound start to the reply with a 57-run stand in 13 overs, the partnership being broken when the former hit Azeem Rafiq high to Iain Wardlaw on the midwicket boundary.
Rafiq trapped Alex Blake in front and held on well when Key drilled back a catch to leave him with figures of 3-22, but Darren Stevens snuffed out any real chance of a Yorkshire fightback.
Consecutive boundaries off Steven Patterson hurried him to 49 and a single brought up his half-century from 41 balls with seven fours.
Stevens helped himself to a couple more fours against Moin Ashraf and Brendan Nash played his part too.
However, when the stand was worth 65 in 12 overs, off-spinner Joe Root started a new spell and Stevens drove to Gary Ballance at long-on.
With the game almost won, Sam Northeast was lbw to Ashraf and the scores were level in the penultimate over when Root sent back Nash, leaving Geraint Jones to hit the winning run.
Yorkshire never fully regained their poise after making a nightmare start; they were reduced to 22 for four in six overs.
The slump began when Joe Sayers attempted to drive Mark Davies but only succeeded in edging to James Tredwell in the slips.
Coles then set out on his destructive trail by bowling Phil Jaques, via an inside edge, before he had scored.
Jonny Bairstow presented Coles with a return catch, after which the seamer pinned Ballance lbw first ball to give him three wickets for 11 runs off his first three overs.
Skipper Andrew Gale had watched on in dismay from the other end while the wickets toppled, but he and Root made a determined effort to repair the damage. The former lofted Stevens for four with a straight drive and then just cleared Billings on the midwicket boundary with a sweetly-struck six.
The fifth-wicket pair had added 70 in 19 overs when Gale appeared distraught at being given out lbw to Stevens; he made 44 from 84 deliveries, striking four fours and a six.
Adil Rashid got moving with some delicate late cuts and Root continued to bat with calm authority until he squirted a drive at Adam Ball straight into the hands of Northeast at backward point.
Coles returned to create further havoc, Rafiq driving him to Stevens at long-off and Patterson getting himself into a tangle against a slower ball which he spooned down the leg side for Jones to catch.
Rashid brilliantly launched Ball over extra-cover for six before becoming the last of Coles’ victims, hitting to Stevens at long-off, after which Ashraf and Wardlaw batted out the overs.