Kiwi County Tour #16 (County Championship)

 Taking the piss 101.

Taking the piss 101.

The lads on the Kiwi County Tour bus were on barbeque duty and dishes as we gathered to celebrate Rachel Priest and Suzie Bates dominating the Women's T20 Super League. County cricket sparked back into action last week and with the usual OG suspects still doing their thang, we've also got Tom Latham and Adam Milne on-board for the final stanza and while the OGs chipped were in charge of the barbie, Latham and Milne were put in their place and were in charge of all things cleaning.

Durham vs Derbyshire 

Tom Latham

With Durham waltzing to a big win over Derbyshire, Latham wasn't required to do too much with his Kookaburra blaze as his bowlers did most of the work. Latham hit 27 in Durham's first innings as they declared on 480/9 and Derbyshire were then forced to follow-on after being dismissed for 164. Derbyshire were then all-out for 354, which was a much better effort although it only resulted in setting Durham a target of 39.

Tommy ate that up, not-out on 23* off just 27 balls in a fairly aggressive innings from the lefty. This was Latham's second game for Durham and he hit 124 in his first outing, Latham also smacked a cheeky 241 when he first arrived to Durham as he eased into his work with a game for Durham's 2nd XI. Latham's double-hundy came against the MCC Young Cricketers team, so it was nice for Latham to put those youngsters in the shade, flexing his international experience.

Latham also put Keaton Jennings in the shade after Jennings earned a wee promotion to England's Test team. Jennings scored 0 and 16 as Latham's opening partner for Durham and this will be an interesting angle to follow as they are both youngish Test openers, only that Latham is a few steps ahead of Jennings.

Kent vs Leicestershire

Adam Milne

We've been starved of Milne's presence in long-form cricket and it was weird how Milne enjoyed a rapid return to the Blackcaps despite not taking a wicket in his return to Plunket Shield cricket earlier this year. With that said, it's great to have Milne getting those four-day reps to his name and as we already know what Latham is capable of in Test cricket, there's no more important kiwi on the KCT than Milne; he's gotta show his body can handle four-dayers and execute his skills on top of that.

Milne's Kent played out a draw with Leicestershire and Milne got through an almighty shift in Leicestershire's first innings. Milne took 1/103 off 29 overs @ 3.55rpo first up and then in the second innings, Milne squeezed in 6 overs, bowling 4 maidens with 1/11 @ 1.83rpo. Former England opener Michael Carberry was Milne's second innings wicket, Milne trapped him lbw and Milne also chipped in with 22* in Kent's batting innings.

While it will be great to see Milne steam-rolling through teams with wickets, the bigger KCT picture has me intrigued about his workload and how tidy Milne's bowling is. Milne bowled plenty of overs (35 total) and his 8 maidens in the first innings was tied-1st for Kent, followed by his 4 maidens in the second innings which led Kent's bowlers. In fact, including Leicestershire's only innings with the ball, no one bowled more maidens than Milne's 8 in this game. 

Lancashire vs Warwickshire

Jeetan Patel

Lord Jeetz isn't having the best County campaign with the ball for Warwickshire and Jeetz again struggled to have an impact via his offies in an 8-wicket loss to Lancashire. Jeetz bowled 32 overs in Lancashire's first innings and took 1/140 @ 4.37rpo before getting a few token overs in as Lancashire only had to chase 41 for victory, Jeetz still conceded 5.70rpo off his 3.2 overs.

None of that really matters though when Lord Jeetz is scoring runs for the Bears - well, it kinda does because the lack of Lord Jeetz wickets is contributing to Warwickshire's losses. However, we are here to celebrate another strong run-scoring game for Jeetz as he hit 47 in Warwickshire's first innings and then 30 in the second innings. This gave him the top-score in the first innings and 3rd top-scorer in the second innings.

This is all part of an immense KCT with the willow for Lord Jeetz. He's not quite on Kumar Sangakkara's level with 1,086 runs in 7 games (108.60avg), yet Jeetz is ranked 31st in runs and the fact that he's in the top-50 is glorious. Jeetz has scored more runs this season than noted batsmen like Ian Bell, Nick Compton, Haseeb Hameed, Scott Borthwick, Adam Lyth, George Bailey and Marcus Trescothick. Jeetz has 419 runs @ 29.92avg and Lord Jeetz could be Aotearoa's best all-rounder right now.

Surrey vs Middlesex

James Franklin

James Franklin's Middlesex played out a draw with Surrey and there's not a whole lot to report on Franklin's contributions. Franklin was dismissed for 7 in the first innings (247 all up), then took 1/23 @  3.28rpo in 7 overs before chipping in with 15 in Middlesex's second dig. That's all she wrote though as Surrey got just the one innings and Franky-Frank couldn't make the most of his two innings with the blade.

Worcestershire vs Gloucestershire

Kieran Noema-Barnett

The joy of the KCT is that guys like Kieran Noema-Barnett get to come up against superstars like Ravi Ashwin (or Sangakkara, or Mohammad Amir, or Lord Jeetz) and while Ashwin's Worcestershire enjoyed a fairly big win, Noema-Barnett came back to the bus with a few yarns that we all enjoyed. 

Noema-Barnett is getting a decent crack as a new-ball bowler for Gloucs and he took 1/80 @ 3.87rpo off 20.4 overs in Worcestershire's first innings of 363. After scoring 15, Noema-Barnett then got trapped lbw by Ashwin and was 1 of Aswhin's 3/94 and Noema-Barnett had the new-ball taken from him, used as the 4th bowler in the second innings. He only bowled 5 overs as well, no wickets @ 2rpo.

With Gloucs chasing 401 to win, Ashwin stepped up to the crease and took 5/68 @ 2rpo off 34 overs - no other Worcs bowler bowled more than 17 overs. Noema-Barnett was again an Ashwin victim, although he did make another start, scoring 22 before Ashwin had him caught. Ain't no shame in being Ravi Ashwin's bunny, many Test batsmen fall into that category.

Peace and love 27.

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