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Jones and McLaren inspire Spitfires' win

Geraint Jones in action at the Oval. Picture: BARRY GOODWIN
Geraint Jones in action at the Oval. Picture: BARRY GOODWIN

Kent secured their second Friends Provident Trophy win of the bank holiday weekend with Monday’s impressive 90-run triumph over Surrey in front of a modest 4,000 crowd at The Brit Oval.

Having recovered from a shaky start to set an impressive 50-over total of 282 for seven, Spitfires put in their best bowling stint of the season to date to dismiss the hosts for 192 within 42.4 overs with Yasir Arafat taking 4-35 and Ryan McLaren 5-46, his best ever figures in 56 one-day games, to secure Kent’s second win in four starts.

Needing 5.66 per over from the start of their reply, the Browncaps suffered their first loss three overs in when left-hander Scott Newman (4) followed one going across his body from Arafat and snicked to Geraint Jones.

Arafat struck again in the seventh when James Benning (16) attempted to pull a good length ball to go leg before then, his former Pakistan team-mate Azhar Mahmood, got in on the act by removing Surrey dangerman Mark Ramprakash (5).

Late on a defensive push, the former England bat and acting Browncaps’ captain got a thin inside edge that sent the ball crashing into middle and leg stumps.

Jones and Arafat combined again when the Kent keeper ran across in front of first slip to take a sharp catch in his right glove from Ali Brown’s back foot waft.

Arafat gave way after a seven-over burst of three for 27 and his replacement Ryan McLaren was soon celebrating as well.

Running one off the seam to left-handed Usman Afzal (8) he found a thick outside edge that flew low to second slip where Martin van Jaarsveld held on to make it 66-5.

With 199 still required from the last 30 overs, McLaren struck again by having Chris Schofield (5) pouched at first slip by Justin Kemp then, after a stand of 49, Matt Nicholson (24) misjudged the length against McLaren to go leg before.

Jonathan Batty posted an obdurate. 81-ball 50 with four fours but Saker’s brisk innings of 20 ended when he skied to long-on then Batty cut straight to Tredwell at backward point to give McLaren a fifth scalp.

Arafat then returned to york last man Pedro Collins to complete the win with 7.2 overs to spare.

Earlier, a limited overs best innings of 86 from 88 balls by Jones, a quickfire 50 from Azhar Mahmood and second half-century in as many days by Justin Kemp helped rescue Kent from a miserable start.

Struggling at 52 for four, Spitfires struck back to add 110 from the last 10 overs and, more impressively, 84 from their last six.

Kent’s decision to bat first was soon in question once Surrey’s opening bowler Pedro Collins got the new ball to swing about from the Vauxhall End.

The West Indian paceman trapped Rob Key leg before for a third ball duck after the right-hander pushed late at an in-swinger that pitched on off stump.

Opening partner Joe Denly (5) followed when he allowed a Collins off-cutter through the gate to clip the top of off stump.

In-form van Jaarsveld was dropped on five when Benning downed a cut shot in the gully but, with his score on 23, Van Jaarsveld’s leaden-footed push at a full-length ball from Nicholson ended with a catch to wicketkeeper Jonathan Batty.

Kent’s top-order demise continued when Darren Stevens, looking out of form and low on confidence, played across the line to a Nicholson in-ducker to go lbw for a nine-ball duck.

Kemp led a Spitfires’ rally as he and Jones joined forces to add 92 in 20 overs for the fifth wicket.

Kemp, playing within himself, hit only six fours in his 72-ball 50, but holed out to long-on for 63 as soon as he decided to go down the aerial route against leg-spinner Schofield.

Jones reached his 62-ball half-century soon after yet there was still a sense Spitfires were not scoring quickly enough.

Jones and Azhar Mahmood put that right with a barrage of boundaries, including three sixes in five balls, as they posted record sixth-wicket stand in all limited overs cricket against Surrey worth 93 in 11 overs beating Woolmer and Knott’s 75 here in 1972.

Jones sprinted to 86, his highest score in one-day day cricket, before he smeared at a Collins in-swinger to inside edge a catch to Batty.

Mahmood reached a 38-ball 50 with a vicious cut for six over cover off Nicholson that also posted Kent’s 250, but was out soon after for 62 from 43 balls off a skier to long-off.

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