Mon, Aug 06, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Spitfires gun down the Gladiators to win Twenty20 cup


South Africa's Ryan McLaren claimed a hat-trick to help the Kent Spitfires overcome the Gloucestershire Gladiators by four wickets in the Twenty20 final at Edgbaston on Saturday.

McLaren's hat-trick, dismissing Hamish Marshall, Steve Adshead and Ian Fisher with successive balls, restricted Gloucestershire to a modest 146 for eight.

Despite Gloucestershire's best efforts to strangle Kent's reply, which was led by 45 off 35 balls from Matt Walker, they closed out the win in the final over.

Gloucestershire's challenge was undermined from the start by losing four wickets inside the first nine overs of their innings, including opener Craig Spearman who had inspired their shock semi-final triumph over Lancashire.

Spearman and Kadeer Ali fell in Yasir Arafat's first two overs of the innings and despite New Zealand born Marshall holding the innings together with a determined 65 off 49 balls, their impetus was lost by McLaren's burst.

He made the crucial breakthrough to remove Marshall with just three overs remaining, bowled off an inside edge trying to guide to third man, and followed that by knocking over Adshead's off-stump.

McLaren became only the fifth bowler in Twenty20 history and the first on finals day to claim a hat-trick by removing Fisher leg before wicket with his next delivery and although Mark Hardinges hammered a quickfire 39 off 35 balls, Gloucestershire's total never looked competitive.

In the semi-finals Kent overcame the challenge of the Sussex Sharks, with skipper Rob Key playing a commanding innings of 68 not out, including eight fours and two sixes, to see the Spitfires home with four balls to spare.

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