Mahmood and Riaz seal Spitfires victory
Azhar Mahmood scored a brilliant century to help the Kent Spitfires complete a comprehensive eight wicket victory over the Gloucestershire Gladiators at the County Ground in Beckenham.
Mahmood (106) smashed 13 boundaries and 3 sixes during a stunning 57 ball innings as the Spirfires made light work of the Gladiators total of 166 after Wahab Riaz (17-5) picked up a hat trick to derail the visitors.
Despite the loss of Robert Key (5) early on, Joe Denly (50) and Mahmood shared a 2nd wicket stand of 135 to put the home side firmly in control as the Gladiators bowlers were unable to find a much needed break through.
Denly was finally dismissed by Sri Lankan legend, Muttiah Muralitharan in the 16th over but Mahmood remained at the crease to complete his century to seal victory for the Spitfires after Wahab Riaz tore through the Gladiators lower order.
Having won the toss the Gladiators got off to a good start thanks to Hamish Marshall (47) and Kevin O’Brien (34) who shared an opening stand of 77 which was ended by Adam Ball in the 9th over after he dismissed O’Brien.
Marshall quickly followed before Kane Williamson (21), Ian Cokbain (20) and Alex Gidman (28) looked to have put the home side in control before Riaz struck in spectacular fashion.
The Pakistan international made his mark in the 18th over, picking up a hat trick after he removed Chris Taylor (5), Ed Young (0) and Richard Coughtrie (0) to rock the Gladiators middle order.
Riaz returned in the final over to pick up the wickets of Gidman and David Payne (0) in consecutive deliveries to help restrict the visitors to a total of 167 after the Gladiators had reached 151-4 at the start of the 17th over.