Norwich Union League: Kent v Gloucestershire at Canterbury, 8 Jul 2001|
Mark Pennell of the Kent Messenger Group
The odds seemed stacked against a Kent victory after they were unceremoniously dismissed for 114 inside 30 overs in an innings reduced to 33 overs because of rain.
The hosts were struggling at 45 for two when the heavens opened, but worse followed the resumption as veteran Kim Barnett ripped out their late order with his medium-paced swingers to finish with four for 12 - the best return of his 23-year, 313-match career and figures that included his 100th one-day wicket.
Only David Fulton (23) and Rob Key (21) made it into the 20s on a difficult, green-tinged pitch that also helped Mark Alleyne and Michael Ball to claim two wickets apiece.
Chasing a revised total of 118, Gladiators lost Dominic Hewson to Ben Trott and then Matthew Windows and Chris Taylor from successive deliveries from Martin Saggers, who then trapped visiting skipper Mark Alleyne leg before in his next over.
Trott removed Jeremy Snape to a catch at the wicket and Mark Ealham replaced Saggers to have the experienced Barnett caught in the slips after becoming Gloucestershire's first player to reach double figures.
At 32 for six much rested on the shoulders of Australian Ian Harvey, who teamed up with Jack Russell to double the Gladiators score before Ealham struck again by having the former England wicketkeeper taken at second slip.
Harvey hit two fours and three sixes, one of which flew straight into a hospitality box at long off, on his way to a top score of 39 but once he holed out to deep mid-wicket off Saggers Kent began to scent victory.
It was left to Saggers to finish the game in style, uprooting the off stump of James Averis to end the innings on 86 and secure career-best limited overs' figures of five for 22 and help Kent maintain their unbeaten record as well as the joint-leadership with Leicestershire.
The former Derbyshire skipper returned four for 12 in 20 balls - his best in a 23-year career - as Gloucestershire Gladiators took control after rain interrupted the match for an hour and a half after 12 overs of the Spitfires' innings.
Kent had just lost their second wicket, that of top-scorer David Fulton (23), when rain arrived at 1.43pm and forced the umpires to reduce the match to 33 overs per side.
At that stage Kent had reached 45, but proceeded to lose their last eight wickets for 69 and even failed to use up the last 22 balls of their innings as Mark Alleyne and Barnett - who took his 100th league wicket during his short spell - tightened the title holders' grip on the game.
Under the Duckworth/Lewis system Gloucestershire will now need to score 118 from their 33 overs if they are to take Kent's unbeaten league record.
Date-stamped : 08 Jul2001 - 22:39