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Kent captain Sam Northeast and Daniel Bell-Drummond in form in North v South Series in Abu Dhabi

By Alex Hoad

Kent captain Sam Northeast hit a match-winning 118 not out as the South sealed a series win against the North in Dubai on Sunday.

Playing in front of England selectors, the 27-year-old struck a dozen fours and a six to see the South through to 346-6 after being put in, on their way to a second win of the series.

Northeast claimed it was ideal preparation for the new season and said: “It’s nice to be out here, it’s an honour to come and play in this.

Sam Northeast in Kent's 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup shirt, sponsored by construction company WW Martin Picture Anthony Roberts

Sam Northeast in Kent's 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup shirt, sponsored by construction company WW Martin Picture: Anthony Roberts

 

"I felt in good touch going into this week so I was confident inside but I’m very happy tonight that we’ve won 2-0 and I’ve got some runs on the board.”

He added: “There are competitive, highly skilful cricketers playing against each other. It’s nice to be around - I haven’t been around since under-19 days and it’s fantastic preparation for me as well for the season coming up.

“We’ve gelled as a side really well and we’ve been playing some really good cricket.

"I made sure I wasn’t going to do anything different from what I’ve been doing at Kent - but it’s still really nice to score some runs in front of the selectors.”

After an excellent unbeaten 92 in game one,  Daniel Bell-Drummond was dismissed for nought in the first over before the South rebuilt through Middlesex’s Dawid Malan (78) and James Vince of Hampshire (46).

Jack Leaning removed Malan and Alsop before Northeast shared a crucial 170-run stand with Hampshire all-rounder Liam Dawson (83).

Northeast added: “I’ve batted with Daws quite a bit. I played England under-19s with him growing up, so we get on pretty well.

"We communicated what we thought was a good score, we said 320-330, kept it ticking over, then said let’s go and have a bit of fun, and we did really. We ended up getting 340 which was brilliant.

"It was a good wicket, what Farby and Andy Flower have said is go out there and express yourself, don’t have any fear of failure, just go out there and have a good time.”

In reply, fireworks from Northants and England opener Ben Duckett (64) and Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone (26) fizzled out as the South attack struck regularly.

Yorkshire and England all-rounder Tim Bresnan (74) provided the main resistance but seven players falling to catches, including one from Northeast to oust Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke in a 47-run win.

Northeast is set to feature in the final North v South fixture on Tuesday before leading the MCC squad against Champion County Middlesex in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Daniel Bell-Drummond in action for England Lions. Picture Chris Davey.

Daniel Bell-Drummond in action for England Lions. Picture: Chris Davey.

Bell-Drummond also revealed he relished the opportunity to impress the England selectors with 92 not out in an unbroken opening partnership to give the South a 1-0 lead in the series on Friday.

The 23-year-old helped Malan (109*) chase 205 to win with 10 wickets and 99 balls to spare and said: “Everyone knows what this series is about, so it’s a good stage to do well on. Hopefully I can keep going in this series, and then push on into the season with Kent.

“I was pretty confident coming into the series after getting the century for the Lions in Sri Lanka. But every game is different, so I was pleased to get off to the start I did.

“Our bowlers set it up brilliantly. We kept taking wickets at crucial stages, and that’s the key in one-day cricket.

“It wasn’t easy facing Mark Wood and Bresnan with the new ball. But I was really pleased to be opening, and I thought we came through it quite well.

"The first 10 overs is the best time to be batting, so we made a conscious effort to be positive, without being reckless."

 

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