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County cricket talking points: Hampshire outsmart Kent in cup final

Rilee Rossouw hit a match-winning 125 as Hampshire beat Kent in the Royal London Cup final at Lord’s

By Gary Naylor for the 99.94 Cricket Blog

Even in the 50-overs format, cricket requires strategic choices of a complexity beyond what most other sports can offer – quite how this particular arrangement of wood, cork and leather does that is beyond my understanding, but it does. In the Royal London Cup final, Hampshire were put in by Kent, but, having taken a few overs to have a look, went hard at the seamers in particular, the top four, led by centurion Rilee Rossouw, collectively scoring 295 runs at 108. In the chase, Kent’s top four scored 160 runs at 83. That said, with 21 overs to go, Kent required 179 runs at 8.5 with eight wickets (including some big hitters) in hand – and they were probably just about favourites. But is there a little confirmation bias in play here? We remember the great chases, the ice-cold blood of Michael Bevan, the helicopter shots of MS Dhoni, the Brathwaiting of Ben – but perhaps we don’t recall so readily the routine wins like this one, Kent falling 61 runs short. Scoreboard pressure is harder to see and, maybe, harder to value as a result.

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