CRICKET – County Championship Div 1: Essex v Kent

Cricket Tips


County Championship – LV= Div One
Essex (5th) v Kent (8th)
Monday 10th May – Thurs 13th May 2010 – 1100hrs
Essex take on Division One strugglers Kent at their home ground County Ground, Chelmsford, looking for only their second Championship win of the season. A win here could see them leapfrog Warwickshire and put pressure on Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.
Kent meanwhile, are looking to end a miserable start to their Div One Championship campaign having lost two and drawn two, which sees them currently just four points above basement dwellers Hampshire.
Essex have won one (beating Hampshire by 62 runs) in their opening fixture, drawn two (a veritable draw against last season’s champions Durham & Somerset) and lost two (they got thumped in their two Northern fixtures; lost by 8 wickets to Lancashire & an innings and 96 runs against Yorkshire). But they will be confident of forcing a result over today’s opponents Kent, who were promoted to Div One along with Essex at the end of last season and the two sides seem pretty even on paper.
Taking a look at Essex’s batsmen; wicket-keeper/batsman James Foster (LVD1 400runs @ 50.00avge) is joint top scorer so far (HS: 169), with Jaik Mickleburgh (LVD1 299 @ 49.83, HS: 174) also in good form and both batsmen can score heavily once set. England opener Alastair Cook (LVD1 155 @ 25.83) has been a bit disappointing thus far, but will be looking to post decent scores against a relatively weak Kent attack. Matt Walker (LVD1 82 @ 41.00) will miss this fixture due to a back problem, but perhaps the x-factor in the batting department, Ryan ten Doeschate (LVD1 227 @ 37.83) has the ability to destroy bowling attacks in quick fashion and is worth a side bet for Essex top-scorer.
Essex bowling: They have received a major boost ahead of the Kent fixture with Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria returning from a Pentangular tournament organised by the Pakistan Board. A proven match-winner, Kaneria took 75 wickets in Essex’s promotion campaign last season and in my opinion will be the difference between the two sides this time around. Also look out for former Kent paceman David Masters (LVD1 18 wickets @ 25.66) who will naturally want to impress his former team-mates, and all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate (LVD1 15 @ 26.93) is always dangerous with the ball.
Kent have yet to register a LVD1 win, and this is no coincidence when you draw a parallel with the team’s and captain Robert Key’s early season form; opening batsman Key (LVD1 97 @ 13.85) has had a disastrous start and normally carries the bulk of the batting responsibilities. All-rounder Darren Stevens (LVD1 322 @ 64.40) leads the run-scoring charts with South African Martin van Jaarsveld (LVD1 213 @ 30.42) also a pivotal and key batsman – take a dart on van Jaarsveld as Kent leading run scorer. Batsman/spinner James Tredwell (LVD1 143 @ 47.66) has also made a good start.
In the bowling department, Kent look a little light and will be depending on paceman Amjad Khan (LVD1 13 @ 39.07) their leading wicket taker to make an impression along with drafted in paceman Makhaya Ntini (LVD1 5 @ 30.80), and all-rounder Darren Stevens (LVD1 7 @ 32.57) to provide the bulk of the wickets I feel.
Kent however, are missing that match-winning bowler, which is where Essex could hold the upper-hand in the form of Danish Kaneria.
Keep an eye on the weather as rain is forecast for Wednesday afternoon…
Pick: Essex @ 2.10 for a straight win or if you’re worried about the rain, take them DRAW NO BET option @ 1.72 – both prices with Betfair