Ollie Robinson hammers 206* to lead to Kent’s successful chase of 352

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Knows 353 for 3 (Robinson 206*, Compton 75) beat Worcestershire 351 for 8 (Kashif 114, Barnard 79, Henry 3-56) with seven wickets

Double Century maker Ollie Robinson took Kent’s highest individual score in List A cricket when they chased a 352 goal with 5.1 overs left in their first Royal London Cup meeting with Worcestershire at New Road.

Robinson seized the opportunity presented by Kent Captain Sam Billings and Jordan Cox’s inclusion for the Hundred after lending the 2022 Vitality Blast to Durham, surpassing Kent’s previous best performance in 50 over 150 cricket not out by Joe Denly against Glamorgan in Canterbury four years ago.

A lofted cover drive for four against Josh Baker brought Robinson to his double barrel of 130 balls and was the cue for a standing ovation all around the ground, finishing at 206 not out.

Former Kent Academy player Kashif Ali had scored an impressive 114 on his List A debut for Worcestershire, who recovered from 36 for 4 and scored a formidable total. But Robinson got excellent support from Ben Compton on a score of 204, Kent’s highest second wicket partnership against a County in this format of the game.

It was a reversal of what happened last summer when Worcestershire chased a 323 goal.

Former Worcestershire pace bowler Matt Henry, in his only match in the league before joining New Zealand, hit a triple when the home side dropped to 36 for 4 after opting to hit.

Ed Pollock pushed the first pitch of the innings into the second slip, captain Brett D’Oliveira selected square leg and Jake Libby was taken shortly before extra cover in a 6-20-3 Henry opening spell.

With Azhar Ali lbw working to flee Grant Stewart, Kent was very much on the rise before Kashif and Barnard embarked on their rescue. The runs picked up speed once Henry was taken out of the attack and it is testament to Kashif’s rapid elevation that he looks right at home at this level.

He completed half a century from 49 balls and then brought a royal back foot drive square from Hamid Qadri Barnard’s wicket to that milestone of 56 deliveries.

No one was able to stem the flow of boundaries and the fifth wicket pair had looted 175 from 28 overs when Barnard, at 79, fell half way to Matt Quinn. It surpassed Worcestershire’s previous best fifth wicket List A partnership of 169 by Ben Cox and George Rhodes against Yorkshire at New Road in 2019.

Kashif completed his century clipping through midwicket in the same over and had moved up to 114 from 99 balls when he drilled Qadri half way where Quinn took a fine low catch.

But there was no stopping for Kent with Ben Cox, on his return to action after a break for mental health reasons, and Joe Leach added 74 in just 7.5 overs. Leach had made 48 of just 28 deliveries when he lofted Quinn to the deep midwicket loft, but Cox went on a half-century of 43 balls with two sixes and three fours in a vintage knock.

When Kent struck, his left arm, Ben Gibbon, struck an early punch as Joey Evison turned the ball from his hips straight to the fine leg. But then bat over ball dominance resumed after Robinson and Compton got back together.

Robinson was in particularly destructive form against seam or spin and he hit three figures when he raised D’Oliveira for his 13th four in addition to hitting three sixes.

The partnership of 204 in 28 overs ended when Compton, at 75, pulled D’Oliveira down Barnard’s throat deep down the middle.

Alex Blake was strangled down the leg side of Dillon Pennington, but Robinson didn’t stop. He reached his double hundred with a loft-off drive against Baker from just 130 balls with six sixes and 26 fours.

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