One-Day Cup: Warwickshire ease past Kent to reach Lord's final
Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final, Edgbaston
Warwickshire 219-4 (46.3 overs) beat Kent 215-8 (50 overs) by six wickets
Warwickshire kept their nerve to ease through to the One-Day Cup final with a six-wicket victory over Kent.
Despite a late burst from Sam Billings, who made an unbeaten 40, Kent's 215-8 never looked enough at Edgbaston.
England paceman Boyd Rankin again bowled very menacingly to finish with man of the match figures of 3-34.
Half centuries by Jonathan Trott (58), Varun Chopra (50) and Tim Ambrose (51 not out) then all helped the hosts home on 219-4, with 21 balls to spare.
The Bears' victory keeps alive their hopes of doing the treble - 20 years on from Edgbaston's class of 1994 doing the same.
Having won the T20 Blast on their own ground less than a fortnight ago, Dougie Brown's Bears will now face the winners of Saturday's Durham-Nottinghamshire semi-final at Lord's on 20 September.
But they remain outsiders in the County Championship, 33 points adrift of leaders Yorkshire with two games left.
Bears treble-chasing again 20 years on . . .
Warwickshire also met Kent in a semi-final at Edgbaston 20 years ago, the Bears getting home that day by eight runs in the NatWest Trophy - thanks to an unbeaten ton from man of the match Andy Moles.
But Warwickshire, who won the treble that year (also winning the County Championship and Sunday League), went on to lose in the final at Lord's to local rivals Worcestershire, who they had beaten in the Benson and Hedges Cup final in July.
Former Bears opener Moles, who has since coached Kenya, Scotland and New Zealand, has now been appointed the new head coach of Afghanistan.
It took the big-hitting skills of Billings to elevate the Kent innings to a total worthy of defending.
At 161-8, after the fall of three quick wickets, the visitors looked like they might not even complete their 50 overs.
But Billings hit four fours and a six, sharing an unbroken 59-run stand with tail-ender David Griffiths.
Warwickshire then quickly lost William Porterfield in reply, before a 110-run second-wicket stand between Chopra and Trott.
Both went in quick succession as 120-1 became 132-3.
Trott carved to backward point off Griffiths, who had just dropped him on 54 at mid-on, then Chopra was trapped lbw by spinner Adam Riley.
But experience told as Ambrose got the innings back on course in the company of Laurie Evans, who weighed in with 24 to add to his three earlier catches, one of them a one-handed stunner to remove Alex Blake.
And, after being joined by the reassuring presence of Rikki Clarke, it was Warwickshire wicketkeeper Ambrose who hoisted the winning boundary, just short of the ropes at midwicket.
Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown:
"Semi-finals are big occasions and sometimes teams who have played good cricket until that moment, for whatever reason, find it quite hard. We didn't, we fronted up from ball one, put in a thoroughly disciplined performance and kept Kent to a below-par score.
"Jonathan Trott's in a good space at the moment. You can see his worth and what a player he is. He has played really well - look at his record in the last eight weeks of the season, he has been outstanding. I am really pleased he is playing for Warwickshire."
Kent captain Rob Key:
"We were very poor with the bat, I thought it was a fantastic pitch, there was something in it for everyone - a brilliant one-day wicket.
"But what did we have? Twenty, 20, 30, three - it's shocking really, that sort of scorecard."