NatWest T20 2017: Kent duo slams biggest T20 opening stand ever
What’s the story?
Kent’s opening pair of Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond stitched a mammoth world record partnership of 207 against Essex at Chelmsford to strengthen their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages of the ongoing NatWest T20 Blast.
In case you didn’t know…
The partnership is third in the list of all time highest stands in T20s: AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli had, in 2015 and 2016, made two 200+ scores for the second wicket for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The previous stand for the highest opening stand was between Colin Ingram and Jamie How for the Central Districts in January 2012.
The heart of the matter
Denly bludgeoned a 66-ball 127, supported ably by Bell-Drummond, who himself finished with an unbeaten 80. Together, they beat their own Kent record of 163 set against Surrey at The Oval just a month ago.
Facing the opening bowling of Mohammad Amir and Jamie Porter, Denly went all out blazing, completing his fifty in just 27 balls. Bell-Drummond was the more saner version of the two, playing second-fiddle admirably to Denly, who completed his second century of the season with a four off Ashar Zaidi in the 16th over.
Essex gave Denly & Co more than a fight. Spearheaded by Varun Chopra, who scored a career-best 114, the chasing side looked well on its course till the 18th over, before Chopra's departure derailed them as they eventually ended 11 runs short.
If they manage to go past Surrey at Canterbury, Kent will manage to sneak into the top eight. For Essex, a win against Sussex will give them a shot at ending in the top-four of the intensifying south group.
An exciting tournament that sees high quality T20 cricket being played, the NatWest Blast’s current season is witnessing a number of records being broken. Earlier, Ross Whitley smote six sixes in as many balls against Yorkshire and Adam Lyth recently compiled 161 against Northamptonshire, which is the third highest T20 score of all-time.
The mind-boggling knock also gives a peek into the future: with the changing dynamics of T20 cricket, teams are pushing closer to the 250-run mark, a figure that has been surpassed only seven times in more than a decade of the format.