Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Van the Man

In any team game, it's always dangerous to over-emphasise the performance of one individual in a certain match, but you do have to say that Martin Van Jaarsveld's performance in the game against Surrey that finished this morning, borders on 'extraordinary', and is pretty hard to beat in terms of single handedly winning a game. A game that Kent should really have lost.

Consider -

Responding to Surrey's rather laborious first innings of 397, MVJ was the only Kent batsman to get over 40 against Surrey's wonderfully Anglo Saxon bowling attack of Jade Dernbach, Pedro Collins, Abdul Razzaq and Saqlain Mushtaq. His unbeaten ton got Kent to within 120 on first innings when a follow-on seemed all but inevitable.

He then twirled down his occasional off spinners to extraordinary effect to bowl Surrey out for 128 ending with career best figures of five for thirty three.

He then followed that up with ANOTHER unbeaten ton, on a turning wicket which was seemingly designed for Saqlain - but not, apparently, for Chris Schofield, who mysteriously seemed unable to land the ball on it. Kent won by four wickets.

It's too soon in the season to start talking about turning points and key games, but this win is massive for Kent. A defeat at this stage would have had left them addrift at the bottom staring nervously at the drop into the wasteland of Division Two. Instead, they now have a decent springboard to mount a challenge for the top.

At this stage, I'm rather glad Van Jaarsveld isn't English!

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