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Blake blasts unbeaten 66 to clinch last over win against Surrey

Master blaster Alex Blake smashed a six off the penultimate ball of the match to clinch a thrilling one-wicket victory for Kent Spitfires against Surrey at Beckenham in the Royal London One-Day Cup

Two runs were needed from two balls when James Tredwell was ran out to get Blake back on strike, butthe 26-year-old left-hander hit a shortish ball from Tom Curran high over extra cover to take Kent past Surrey’s 50-over total of 255 for 8.

Click here for tickets to Kent Spitfires' T20 on Wednesday and Sunday's One-Day Cup match at Canterbury

A fascinating game of ebb and flow seemed Surrey’s when Kent slumped to 147 for 6 in front of 4,000 supporters at The County Ground.

But Blake, coming in at No 8, then joined Kent captain Sam Northeast in a seventh wicket stand of 72 in 13 overs to revive the chase and make the home team favourites again.

Northeast had made a fine 47 from 66 balls when he toe-ended a short ball from Stuart Meaker to third man and when Matt Coles was bowled by Gareth Batty for a duck the match looked to be swinging back to Surrey at 226 for 8 in the 46thover.

Blake, however, held his nerve and found in Tredwell the perfect partner as singles were nudged amid the occasional boundary. In those closing overs Blake reached his fifty with a four brilliantly driven through cover off Tom Curran and then, in the 49thover, an off drive for four off Sam Curran.

With eight runs taken from the 47thover, ten from the 48th, and another eight from the 49th, it left Kent requiring just three to avenge last season’s Royal London quarter-final when Surrey defeated them by 17 runs on Duckworth-Lewis at the Oval before going on to be beaten finalists.

A solitary single to Blake from the first three balls of the final over was followed by Tredwell’s sacrifice and Blake’s magnificent winning blow.

Kumar Sangakkara had earlier hit 58 lead Surrey’s batting effort, while the in-form Daniel Bell-Drummond replied for Kent with 56.

Bell-Drummond and Denly added 95 in 17 overs for the second wicket and such was their calmness and authority that it looked as if Kent would cruise to their target. Both played some quality strokes, with Bell-Drummond reaching his fifty from 53 balls, with five fours.

Denly’s dismissal, for 38 from 55 balls, began a Kent slide from 111 for 1 to 115 for 5 in three dramatic overs. Sangakkara ran to his left at long on to take a well-judged catch when Batty cleverly held back an off break and saw Denly loft tamely into the deep with the batsman clearly caught in two minds as he came down the pitch.

Then, in the next over, the 38-year-old Sangakkara brought off a more spectacular effort, diving forward and to his left at third man, to end Bell-Drummond’s fine innings as the right-hander uppercut a short, fast ball from Meaker. For Bell-Drummond it was his ninth time past 50 in a prolific season which has also already seen him score 563 championship runs at an average of 93.83 and 172 runs in the T20 Blast at 86.00.

Fabian Cowdrey, pushed up the order to No 5, did nothing to repay the faith put in him by advancing at his third ball and being easily stumped for 1 as he wafted at one tossed up outside off stump by left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari.

Sam Billings managed a single before spearing Meaker to point and Darren Stevens batted well for 17 before driving Batty straight to short extra cover to leave Kent up against it – but bringing Blake to the crease to play the innings of the day.

Surrey’s innings began brightly with Jason Roy and Steven Davies taking 56 from the opening ten-over powerplay, but both then perished in successive overs to peg the visitors to 58 for 2.

Davies, on 23 from 27 balls, swung David Griffiths straight into Bell-Drummond’s hands at long leg and Roy greeted the introduction of Tredwell for the 12thover by lofting to the same fielder, now stationed at long on. Bell-Drummond, diving forward, held a fine catch and Roy departed for a 40-ball 32.

Sangakkara, Rory Burns and Ansari were further Surrey batsmen to walk off shaking their heads in frustration after picking out fielders as they attempted to push on.

Tredwell leapt at mid off to claw down a chipped drive by Sangakkara off Cowdrey’s left-arm spin, leaving Surrey 153 for 4 in the 30thover, Burns swung a short ball from Stevens to deep mid-wicket and Ansari was caught at long on for 30 in the 46thover.

Gary Wilson was undone on 11 by a fierce lifter from Coles, which ballooned up off his glove and shoulder into the vacant slip area for keeper Billings to make good ground to his right and pull off an excellent low diving catch.

Sam Curran played some nice strokes in his 22 before slicing an attempted drive at the returning Tredwell to point and Tom Curran had his leg stump clipped by Griffiths as he swung violently. A 4,000-strong crowd initially thought the batsman had inside-edged to the boundary at first, before suddenly realising Curran was walking off.

Mat Pillans and Batty did their best in the closing overs to get Surrey’s total up to something defendable but Coles and Griffiths were impressive at the death and, in the end, it was not quite enough to deny Kent.

Click here for tickets to Kent Spitfires' T20 on Wednesday and Sunday's One-Day Cup match at Canterbury

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