Match Preview: Kent v Lancashire, RL50
Lancashire Cricket head to Beckenham in fine form to take on Kent
Royal London Cup, Group A
Wednesday July 28, 2021, 11am
Beckenham Cricket Club
What a season Lancashire are having so far. Qualified for the top division of the Championship and the quarter-finals of the Blast, the Red Rose have made an excellent start to this 50-over competition with two wins from two.
After Friday’s heist against Sussex at Sedbergh, Sunday saw them claim a much more convincing victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol when they chased down 172 to win by six wickets with 6.2 overs remaining.
Danny Lamb claimed another career best. After his 86 not out on Friday, he added 5-30 on Sunday.
A top three finish in the nine-team group is the aim for more knockout cricket.
Kent have played two, lost two so far in Group A.
There would seem to be little reason to change for RL50 coach Mark Chilton following the winning start.
Tom Bailey will continue as captain following Dane Vilas’s call-up to play for the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred as cover for their injured skipper Faf du Plessis.
A striking statistic for Kent is that they have posted 300 plus with the bat in their opening two fixtures and lost them both.
In their opening game against Durham at Beckenham on Thursday, the visitors posted a mammoth 405-4, including centuries for openers Graham Clark (141) and Alex Lees (100). They shared 242 for the first wicket.
In reply, Kent made a battling 302-8, recovering from 50-3 as powerful Scotland international George Munsey top-scored with a brisk 96.
On Sunday, Munsey was at it again with 108 as Kent made 322-7 batting first against Worcestershire at New Road, again recovering from three down cheaply - 65-3. Harry Finch also scored fifties in both games.
Unfortunately for the Canterbury side, Worcester reeled in the target as captain Joe Leach hit 88 from number eight as the hosts recovered from 184-6 in the 34th over to win by three wickets with five balls to spare.
With Sam Billings away in the Hundred, fellow batsman Jack Leaning was appointed as Kent’s Royal London captain.
But, in line with Coronavirus protocols, Leaning was ruled out of the opening two group fixtures, leaving wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson to lead a side which includes veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens and South African overseas batsman Heino Kuhn.
It is expected that Leaning will return to the fold for tomorrow’s fixture.
This is the first List A meeting between the two counties in almost six years, with Lancashire winning a Royal London Cup group game at Canterbury in early August 2015.
That particular fixture was Liam Livingstone’s one-day debut having made his T20 bow only a couple of months earlier.
Livingstone was the Red Rose’s standout performer with 91 off 88 balls as the visitors, inserted, made 258-9, including 55 for captain Steven Croft and 57 for Alex Davies.
In reply, Stephen Parry claimed 3-60 from 10 overs as Kent were bowled out for 207 inside 38 overs.
Unfortunately, Lancashire failed to get out of the group that summer and Kent were beaten quarter-finalists.
This will only be the seventh meeting in one-day cricket between the two counties since the turn of the century.
What they said:
It will be of no surprise to hear that Danny Lamb is loving life in Lancashire colours at present. But the all-rounder admits to being surprised that his career record only reads four List A games played.
Lamb, 25, has played 52 times for the Red Rose across all formats since debuting in 2017.
His first-team bow was actually in a 50-over game at Nottingham, but he has only played three times since in this format since, including twice in the last week.
“It was only my fourth game, and it’s weird because I feel like I’ve been around a fair bit,” he said.
“I’ve played over 50 matches now for Lancs, and I feel like I should have played more in this format.
“I was injured a couple of years ago, in 2019. Then 2020 was a complete write off for List A cricket.
“But it’s been good to get back into it because I love it.
“I like all forms of cricket, but white ball cricket I particularly enjoy. It suits my game, I’d say.
“That’s not to take anything away from red ball cricket, but I do enjoy it.”
Lamb has recorded career bests with bat and ball in games against Sussex and Gloucestershire to start the competition with a bang.
“I try to keep it simple and not to put too much pressure on myself,” he said ahead of away games against Kent and then Hampshire on Sunday.
“It’s a tour of the south now!
“It’s pretty busy and has been all the way through. My first season playing all formats, I didn’t realise how hectic and chocka it is. But I’m just enjoying it.”