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Jones and Stevens star as Kent open with t20 win

Wednesday 2nd June 2010

Friends Provident t20
Essex Eagles v Kent Spitfires
02 June 2010
County Ground, Chelmsford

Kent Spitfires beat Essex Eagles by 6 wickets

Kent won the toss and elected to field

Essex innings: 167 for 9, 20 overs
ten Doeschate 98, Walker 21, Foster 14
Cook 2-15, Tredwell 2-17, Stevens 2-29

Kent innings: 170 for 4, 18.4 overs
Jones 54, Stevens 49*, Key 25
Napier 2-40, ten Doeschate 1-18

Some brutal hitting from Geraint Jones and Darren Stevens (pictured) ensured that the Kent Spitfires got their FPt20 campaign off to a winning start as they recorded a thrilling six-wicket victory over the Essex Eagles, under the lights at Chelmsford.

After winning the toss, Rob Key put the home side in and sprung a surprise by handing Stevens the new ball and the gamble instantly paid dividends as the in-form all-rounder struck twice in the opening over. Firstly captain Mark Pettini chipped to debutant Malinga Bandara, at straight mid-wicket, and then dangerman Ravi Bopara missed a slower ball as the Eagles fell to 4-2 inside the first over.

That soon became 24-4, at the end of the fifth, when Simon Cook made an explosive start with the ball. He dismissed Grant Flower, caught in the deep by James Tredwell, and then ripped out Graham Napier“s off stump to leave the Eagles reeling. Former Kent-man Matt Walker was joined by all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate and the duo began to re-build the innings in contrasting styles. Walker nurdled the ball around whereas Dutchman ten Doeschate smashed the ball everywhere.

The pair put on 45 before Walker, on 21, picked out Joe Denly in the deep off the bowling of Tredwell. However, at the other end, ten Doeschate was smoking the ball to all parts. He hit Bandara out of the attack, as the Sri Lankan went for 39 off his first three overs for the county, and in tandem with wicketkeeper James Foster the duo added 58 in no time before Tredwell bowled the gloveman for 14.

The wickets at the other end didn“t stop ten Doeschate though and he continued to make Kent toil and he came within just two runs of recording a stunning ton when he was run out on 98 with a ball to spare. His 47 ball knock included nine fours and seven huge maximums as he single-handedly made sure Essex posted a competitive 167-9 of their allotted overs. Cook“s two for 15 excelled for the Spitfires.

In reply the Kent openers, Key and Denly, got the run chase off to a solid start before the latter lost his leg stump to Napier on 16 as he aimed an expansive drive through mid-on. Key then, just as he was getting into his stride on 25, was involved in a mix-up with Martin van Jaarsveld and was run-out to leave the Spitfires on 44-2.

Two then quickly became three as van Jaarsveld, who never found his range in a scratchy eight, found former Kent bowler David Masters at deep long-on to hand ten Doeschate a wicket to add to his runs as Kent were teetering on 62-3. Two balls later Walker dropped Geraint Jones at extra cover, a drop that would prove to be crucial.

With overs disappearing, and the run rate required edging up towards 12, the visitors needed a massive over and that came when Tim Phillips was introduced into the attack. Jones and Stevens took the left-arm spinner for 27 off his solitary over and suddenly Kent were in control. Jones went to his fifty before Napier returned to bowl him for 54 off 34 balls – a knock that set Kent up for victory.

Some more lusty blows from Stevens meant the equation came down to Kent requiring 18 off the final two overs. Stevens only needed five balls as he hit the fourth ball of the over for six over third man before striking the winning runs through the leg-side to finish unbeaten on 49, off 28 balls – including three belligerent sixes, as Kent took victory with eight balls to spare.

Picture:Getty Images