Pietersen ton has Cannock in full flight.
A MAGNIFICENT century by Kevin Pietersen sent on-song Premium Division leaders Cannock to their fourth successive League win.
The South African all rounder hit five sixes and 12 fours in an 88-ball 107 not out as Cannock, chasing Harborne's 199-9 declared, raced to victory with seven wickets to spare.
Pietersen had earlier set the stage for his virtuoso batting performance with a fine bowling display, taking 4-65 form 19 overs to help restrict the home side to their less than adequate total. Harborne Captain Richard Cox hit an excellent 102 which, on another day, might have set his team up for victory.
But with only two of his batting colleagues reaching double figures, the resolute Cox - who struck 12 fours in his century - had insufficient support.
Opener Simon Gear made a solid 50 in a face-saving fourth wicket stand with Cox, the pair putting on 102 in 26 overs after Cannock's opening bowlers had Harborne reeling at 10-3.
Number 7 batsman Nigel Hornsby hit 20 in a 51 run sixth wicket partnership with Cox, but the lower order collapsed as the innings slumped from 188-5 to 199-9.
Cannock's reply started falteringly, the first three batsmen all falling to Gareth Williams in a bright opening spell which brought the paceman 3-24 from 12 overs.
Unfortunately for Williams, by the time he was brought back into the attack Pietersen was in full flow along with big-hitting Mark Humphries.
The Staffordshire wicket keeper hit a six and seven fours in his 51 not out as the fourth wicket pair produced an unbroken stand of 147 in 22 overs.
Williams went for 27 of his last three overs to finish with 3-51 but he was still Harborne's most economical bowler on a day the home side's bowling attack will want to forget.
Not so Pietersen - his tremendous first century in English cricket took his League average into the high 80s and established Cannock as hot favourites to win the Premier Division in only their second season in the top flight.
Harborne, on the other hand, could be facing a battle to avoid relegation in their first year as a Premier Division club.
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|Publication:||Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)|
|Date:||Jun 25, 2000|
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