Kent eye semis with easy win over USA

Leg-spinner Imran Qayyum

NORTH SOUND, Antigua, CMC – English county Kent kept themselves in the hunt for a semi-final spot when they beat USA Cricket by 30 runs in their Group B clash of the Regional Super50 here yesterday.

Needing a win to remain in contention for the playoffs, Kent looked in danger when they collapsed to 51 for six in the 20th over, after choosing to bat first at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

But Grant Stewart struck 44 and Calum Haggett, 42, to get their side up to 172 for nine off their allotted 50 overs.

Seamers Roy Silva (2-31), Elmore Hutchinson (2-33) and Saurabh Netravalkar (2-43), along with left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige (2-20), all finished with two wickets each.

In reply, USA Cricket lost early wickets but recovered to reach 93 for three in the 27th over, to leave the game an open affair.

Silva top-scored with 50 and Sunny Sohal got 29 but left-arm spinner Imran Qayyum grabbed four for 33 while seamers Grant Stewart (2-20) and Calum Haggett (2-25) supported with two wickets apiece to undermine the innings.

With the victory, Kent moved into second spot in the standings with another game remaining tomorrow against Leeward Islands Hurricanes.

Their start here yesterday left a lot to be desired, though, as wickets tumbled steadily before Stewart and Haggett put on a crucial 87 for the seventh wicket.

Stewart faced 86 deliveries and counted three fours and a six while Haggett struck three fours in a 73-ball innings.

When they fell in successive overs, Kent failed to find any late acceleration and stuttered to their final score.

Faced with a modest target, USA Cricket coasted to 26 without loss before losing three wickets for eight runs to be in danger of collapse.

However, Silva and Sohal combined in a 59-run, fourth-wicket stand which propped up the innings and put Kent under pressure.

Silva was forthright in his approach, belting three fours and three sixes in a 57-ball knock while Sohal was boundary-less in a patient 75-ball stay at the crease. Once Sohal was lbw to Imran Qayyum in the 27th over, Silva found no more support and the innings faltered.

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